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13 0i7 



HE author is under Lasting obligation to those whose 
cooperation and experience have done much to aid him in 
solving the practical problems discussed in this book. 

The appreciation oj his readers and oj the author must 
therefore be extended to the Mesdames Collins, Mortensen, 
Linker, and Gorton; to Miss Rebekah Miller for her 
sketches; to George Marix, who has always aided him in 
the creation oj the clothes that have made "Art in Dress" 
so vital; and to 


who, by her representation oj all that is charming, womanly, 
and sweet, inspired him to the consciousness oj the op- 
portunity to elevate the standard oj good taste in dress 
for all women, that their path in the world oj dress might 
be illuminated and that they might better express the 
latent charm and poise inherent in most women. 


U"OEO ruE 0'SeCT(0« A M*NAGS.-*ENT OF ■ 


Ritz-Carlton Hotel 

Mao i son Avenue A Forty Sixth Street 
New Yo R K 



_Z_\_T the risk of being accused of a lack of modesty, the author 
begs to direct the reader's attention to page vi on which is 
pictured the dress made for Airs. Warren G. Harding and worn 
by her at the Inauguration on March 4, 1921. 

Remarkable as it may seem, this is the first dress worn by any 
"Mistress of the White House" that shows the long waist line; 
and though the author hesitates to prophesy, he believes that 
this mode will outlast all fads of fashion, and the dress be as 
wearable and in as good style at the next inauguration as at the 
last, since it is conceived on the principle of correct lines. 

The conception of this dress, be it said, was facilitated for the 
designer by Mrs. Harding's suggestions as to what was becoming 
to her. 

So strongly was the American Press influenced by the vogue of 
American Dress as sponsored by Mrs. Harding, that request was 
made for an article on the subject — an article which Mrs. Hard- 
ing graciously gave the author of this book permission to publish, 
as will be seen from the copy of the letter on the preceding page. 




Foreword xiii 

Introduction xv 

I. Proportional Form 1 

II. Suitability of Dress 6 

III. Types 11 

IV. Dress versus Line 19 

V. The Selection and Treatment of Materials 29 

VI. Color and Texture 32 


JLT was the psychological and romantic Hawthorne of the ' 'wizard hand" 
who wrote, "Woman derives a pleasure, incomprehensible to the other 
sex, from the toil of the needle/' And who was it who said, ' 'A woman is 
always at home with her heart when she is sewing"? It is a way of recog- 
nizing that a woman's sewing tools — her thread, her scissors, her thimble 
and, above all, her needle — are not altogether things of utility. From the 
time the first needle — perhaps of bone, perhaps of wood, but presumably 
of the former — was pushed through leaf or skin, down to the small, 
shining, steel stilettos of to-day, woman has woven around her thread and 
needle and sewed into her garments the romance, the poetry, and the 
dreams of her life. The finely white manicured hands of beauty, the 
toil-worn fingers of housewife and mother alike are inspired by the ever- 
lasting beauty of life and love. So it was with King Solomon's proverbial 
heroine; so it was with the tapestry makers of the times of the Crusade; 
with the embroiderers and fine sewing women of those far-off days; so 
it was with the fine crafts guilds that grew up during the Middle Ages. 

To find oneself truly inspired with the sense of the art that has linked 
itself with the needle, you must read William Morris's ' 'The Water of the 
Wondrous Isles." It is the vogue just now to sneer at things "Mid- 
Victorian;" waiving for the moment the claims of critics of that age, please 
note that it produced a brief, exquisite renaissance of the romance of the 
Arthurian times and of the Middle Ages. Nowhere will this spirit be 
found in more purity than in the book just mentioned above. I quote: 

"In the middle of March when the birds were singing and the leaves were showing 
on the hawthorne/' Birdalone "came across some threads of silks of divers colours . . . 
so she took them and her needle up into the wood . . . and fell to broidering. . . 
Still she wrought on at her gown and her smock. . . . She had broidered the said gown 
with roses and lilies and a tall tree springing from amidst the hem of the skirt . . . 
and the smock she had sewn daintily at the hems and the bosom with fair knots and 

A tale of another age, another world, but immortally true. We read on 

C xiii 3 

that after Birdalone had escaped from her witch mistress in the latter's 
weird ferry, she came after much wandering and adventure to the "City 
of the Five Crafts/' and amid "the going to and fro and the thronging 
of the markets" found "the Hall of the Embroiderers," where she was 
received courteously by the ' 'Master of the Craft when he heard there was 
fine work come to town," and who told her that ' 'none in such craft might 
have the freedom of the market save by leave of the Guild's craft," and 
to ' 'bring samples of her work to the Guild hall as soon as she might." 

And we read further that 

"Without more ado they brought her to the House in the Street of the Broiderers 
and she was received in the Broiderers Guild, remaining five years in rest and peace in 
the City of the Five Crafts," where "with due apprentices they began to gather much 
work . . . for of fine broidery little was done in the Five Crafts and none at all could 
be put beside their work." 

Linking oneself, then, with the beautiful, fine work of the women of 
story and history who have practiced this, the most ancient and the most 
dear of all crafts, and realizing the heritage of the sisterhood of artists in 
fabrics, one finds herself, subconsciously at first and then more definitely, 
growing into a knowledge of this common possession of hers and theirs. 



JLOUR bookshelf probably holds many excellent books on Costume 
Design for students; it may hold excellent treatises on the practical details 
of dressmaking. But there is no treatise or book, so far as investigations 
show, that teaches the home dressmaker how to understand dressmaking 
as it applies to her individual needs; nor is there any literature that teaches 
her how to become that rare master — an original designer. 

Briefly and directly, this book is presented to fill or round out a practi- 
cal need such as is described above; and for that reason, it will concern 
itself not only with the broad, artistic foundations of art in dress, but 
with all the intricate details of dressmaking, theory and practice being 
constantly interwoven; for only in this way can the home dressmaker 
acquire a sound knowledge of the principles of design and of their correct 

That increase of educational material on dress issued by fashion 
magazines and pattern companies, together with the growing number of 
fashion articles in the newspapers, has had a very beneficial effect on 
home dressmaking — both in reducing mistakes and eliminating haphazard 
methods — is recognized; this book, however, drawn as it is from a wide 
experience of many years in actual designing, seeks to illuminate, by the 
light of this long training, the general principles of art in dress and their 

As some of these principles have already been set forth in articles for 
the "Ladies' Home Journal" (1920-1921) and for the "Modern Priscilla" 
(1922-1923), a review has been made of such sections as properly belong 

The reading matter of this book is in itself a dry and uninteresting 
subject unless you take material and thread and needle in your hand; 
then it becomes alive with beauty and with life! 

The creating of clothes is an art — an art which aspires to the dignity 
of painting or sculpture; and progress in dressmaking is as worthy as 

progress in any art, providing your work really expresses individuality 
and beauty. 

Discontent with life, rightly corrected, makes for progress; dissatis- 
faction with one's clothes is often the cause of a mist of regret; but a 
perusal of this book with a desire for progress will make for enlightenment, 
clearer vision, and a greater peace of mind. 

Are we not about to enter an era that will be singularly marked 
with an understanding on the part of women of the need for proper digi ty 
and for the expression of good taste in dress — with a desire to have one's 
dress correct, one's costume suitable? It would seem to us that such 
an era is in its dawning. 

It needs only to recall to our readers a probably common experience 
to demonstrate the importance of correct dress. How many times have 
you looked at some old photograph of yourself in a certain dress and asked 
the question, "How could I have worn those clothes?" The judgment of 
time may be amusing, but it is also severe. And the obvious thought arises, 
'Judgment and criticism alike might have been more favorable had the 
dress been made on the right lines — lines that were really my own." 

In this simple and humble attempt to bring his readers closer to the 
"A B C of Dress," it has been the author's aim to endow them with 
the desire for clothes truly expressing themselves and truly in good 
taste; to help them make their dreams of dress come true; so to direct 
their efforts that their clothes will become "a thing of beauty and a joy 
forever." If he has attained these results, a fresh happiness and content- 
ment are his. 

It is only fair to say that this book will not accomplish the impossible; 
it will not at first, nor even at second, glance turn the aspirant into a 
super-dressmaker, but it will aid and assist the sincere student in a great 

And if she will, in addition, observe and study the clothes she sees on 
the streets, in the shop windows, on the stage, or in the paintings to be 
found in our museums, and apply the deductions she draws from such 
observational study, she cannot fail to reach a newer and more definite 
understanding of the principles of dressmaking and of their application 
to herself, with the result that she will comprehend more fully how to plan 
her own clothes. 

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JL HE principles of proportion are everywhere present. Beauty is not a 
matter of chance. "Order is Heaven's first law/' "For the world was 
built in order, and the atoms march in tune." Through no caprice are 
both the lily and the snow crystal drift white; through no whimsicality 
are both pointed — always six-pointed — hexagonal in every detail. And 
surely there is design and plan in the white pine that has a sheaf of five 
needles while a pitch pine has a sheaf of only three. 

By comparing the relative shapes, proportions, and angles of any two 
chosen specimens or types, one may determine in each specimen the 
factors that make the specimen a design and not a thing of chance. Apply- 
ing the same principles of observation, analysis, and deduction to Dress, 
one recognizes first the initial need for a study of the proportions of the 
human figure and a knowledge of its lines — both fundamental and sub- 
sidiary — in order to correlate one's lines properly with the lines of one's 

In ancient times dress was identified with draperies and flowing lines — 
an artistic covering that followed the natural lines of the human figure — 
which is the reason why the Greek period has always been recognized as 
one of great art, beauty, and purity of line. And to this present day — and 
forever — Grecian lines are an unending and infallible source of inspiration 
to which designers may always safely revert. 

During the Feudal and Mediaeval centuries, the dresses still clung to 
the figure, but you may discern the beginning of the exaggerations and 
passing fancies of the centuries, which to this day are known as "style 
or mode," to the detriment of line. The queens and their courts, to 
emphasize their majesty or their rank and to keep their clothes in harmony 
with their palaces and their castles, began to wear damask and brocades, 
stiff and heavy, woven by hand with metal threads and weighted down 

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with bands of fur. Trains reached a great length, out of proportion to the 
height of the wearer. To try to keep a certain harmony, the headdress 
kept getting higher and higher, until all human proportion was lost, and 
the eternal beauty of the Greek lines was far away. 

One exaggeration followed another. The Renaissance brought the 
skirts known to this day as the "hoop-skirt" and the "pannier." What 
the skirt had in length in the former century, it was now stylish for it to 
have in width; the sleeves followed the proportion of the skirt; the collar, 
with its stiff armature, reached well above the back of the head. These 
are but few of the exaggerations of those days. 

At the time of Louis XIV of France, dresses were big, pompous, over- 
loaded with embroideries and jewels. It was the wish of the King to have 
the most sumptuous court of the world, and clothes had to be kept in 
harmony with the magnificences of Versailles. 

Tired of so much artificiality, the following years show a timid attempt 
at a relative simplicity, until Marie Antoinette reached the greatest 
degree of extravagance, creating a new style almost every week and wearing 
the pannier skirt that measured eight and ten feet in diameter. And 
again to keep a certain proportion to each deformity, wigs and their 
load of trimming had to be extended to a height of three or four feet. 
The court of Napoleon I made an attempt to return to the lines of the 
Roman period in every artistic or decorative way but we see the waist line 
too high, the bodice cut too low, and here again the line is not simple or 
human. Hats and bonnets were elaborately trimmed and unbecoming. 

Artificiality was again the keynote of dress during the following reigns, 
and the restoration of 1848 shows the deformity of the crinoline, the 
leg-o'mutton sleeve, and the pantalets. The Second Empire, from 1852 
to 1870, continued to wear the crinoline, the styles drawing their inspira- 
tion from the French eighteenth century. About 1880 we see the bustle 
and a revival of the leg-o'mutton sleeve — passing fancies! 

The students of fashion have approached their subject through 
precepts and laws laid down by peoples of ancient times, whose acts and 
whose modes of living contrast so strangely with ours that it would be 
difficult to adapt in any way to our twentieth century the beauty that 
was expressed in clothes of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. So 
we in America (with few exceptions) work without any accepted body of 

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dress principles for the dress creations of the present time. And after all, 
it is the American dress problem that concerns us. 

To-day the life of woman is different. She is active in various fields, 
social, sport, or business; she has thrown away much conventionality; 
she wants ease and comfort, which is a guarantee that she will keep away 
from any cumbersome exaggeration; and with the breaking down of class 
distinctions, the simple, logical, practical dress has become universal. 
Time was when clothes were symbolic of social status: nobles, judges, 
monks, peasants, wore clothes indicative of their social class. To-day 
clothes indicate breeding, personality, and intelligent understanding of 
line and fabric. 

The master key to correct dress is a knowledge of the right lines of 
your figure. Every step in the making of a dress should be preceded by 
this knowledge. Some women intuitively feel line and are called ' 'naturally 
graceful," but this is no reason for discouragement on the part of some less 
gifted individual, as there is the assurance that this faculty of discrimina- 
tion may be acquired through study and self-discipline — that is, through 
a study of nature and a schooling of one's self in controlling the carriage 
of the body. 

What we call "chic" is in reality a feeling for line. Some look for this 
in the mysterious attributes associated with wealth and social station, 
whereas grace and charm are the result of training the body to express 
one's mind with sincerity and poise. By giving proper attention to 
seemingly slight details of deportment and carriage, one acquires a sense 
of line and a poised figure. 

To master line, observation of nature is important. A landscape is a 
harmony of lines, whether the trees be dwarfed or majestic, the branches 
clustered or sweeping, the boughs angular or free. Let us, then, dress as 
Nature dresses, adding the touch of art for dignified decoration. William 
Morris has well said, ' 'Every one who adds beauty of raiment to goodness 
of soul makes goodness doubly dear." 

Before line can be mastered, we must also study the native beauty ot 
the human form. The human figure is the most beautiful combination of 
lines known, its charm in woman receiving special emphasis in the sinuous 
line from armpit to ankle. More exquisite, however, than faultless 
proportions is grace of motion — the gods' own gift. A marble statue may 

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be perfect in form, but it cannot be compared to the grace of an elastic, 
spirited woman, whose every gesture indicates soul. 

A woman, though, is not always in motion, so she must be careful 
that she is not dressed with that rigidity of line which will give her a ' 'set" 
appearance. In our modern times, the activity of the American woman 
has changed materially the lines of her figure and has given to her a 
foundation for dress unknown since the period of the Greek. Her bust 
line has become less prominent, her waist line less marked (which explains 
why the line of a dress of foreign origin always has to be altered to fit the 
American woman) ; and it is because of these changes in her figure that 
in the following chapters our attention is given to the creating of dress 
purely American in feeling. 


In reality, your waist line is as definite as your nose; but fashion 
decrees that it shift its definite station to any point from the bust to the 
knee; therefore, to suit the fashion, we must make the figure, and we 
do so rightly and wrongly with a corset. (We are about to speak now to 
the woman of ample proportions, because the woman with the boyish 
figure needs not to heed any discourse on corsets.) 

The proper corset is the proper foundation, the wrong corset the 
wrong foundation. Well do the corset makers know this; they are true 
prophets and anticipate the changes of style so as to make the right corset 
for the coming mode. 

In buying a corset, there are three points which merit earnest consider- 
ation: comfort, support, and beauty. We will discuss them in the order 

1st — Comfort. The corset should conform to the lines of your figure, 
without creating superfluous or unbeautiful lines. It should not be so 
high or so tight as to push up the bust or the flesh under shoulder blades 
or arms. On the other hand, it should be high enough to give proper 
support, and it should not be so low as to catch into the figure instead of 
supporting it. 

2d — Support. For a stout woman, the corset must of necessity be of 
heavier material, have stronger boning and different lines from that for 

: 4 1 

the slender figure. The figure should be made as symmetrical as possible 
through the proper support, which a properly fitting corset will give. 

In a well-made corset, reinforcements are made at points needing 
extra support or requiring forming of graceful contours. For instance, 
a woman of large abdomen will have a corset with double reinforcements 
underneath, lacing and holding in the abdomen, before the corset is 
fastened over it. 

It would be well for you, before buying your corset, to thoroughly 
acquaint yourself with your own figure. Find out if you need reinforce- 
ments and where, if you are of large proportions. If you are small and 
slender, study to avoid a heavily boned corset which may destroy rather 
than mold contours, giving you a square appearance. 

3d — Beauty. The human figure is the most beautiful combination of 
lines known in nature and in art. What we should avoid, therefore, is the 
disguising of the natural lines, and the modifying of the lines which tend 
to disturb the symmetry of the outlines. 

Don't, above all things, buy your corset hurriedly at a bargain counter, 
haphazard, without a proper fitting. It is a false economy that will only 
result in discomfort, a slovenly appearance, and a general puzzlement as 
to what is wrong with your figure. 

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JLT is axiomatic that there are certain unchanging laws of line and of 
color. These laws must be applied to each t3 r pe, and there cannot and 
must not be the slightest confusion of one type with another; or to express 
it in a slightly different manner, each type must remain thoroughbred. 

To illustrate: The plump, blonde woman cannot appropriately select 
the same clothes as her tall, dark sister. So to begin, study your own type 
and, without overdoing it, see whether your style leans toward the Orien- 
tal, the Mediaeval, the Victorian, etc. Study the tones of your skin, the 
color of your hair, your eyes; select a few becoming colors and cling to 
them. All colors — no matter how much you may like to wear them — 
cannot be becoming to you. 

If you do not trust your own judgment and your mirror, look at the 
old prints and note how the art masters dressed their models when paint- 
ing them for posterity. Perhaps you will meet a woman whose type is 
similar to yours, and you may, if you will, note how much the art of dress 
adds to her beauty. 

Unless you are absolutely certain that you know how to dress your 
own type so as to enhance your personality, it would be wisdom to forget 
your taste and inclinations and dress in accordance with your type as 
shown in these different pictures. 

And of course "type," in the full sense of the word, includes the 
thought of age. Whatever your general line of dress — whether severe, 
fluffy, or something else — it can always be adapted to your age. Remem- 
ber that dress always expresses your personality; you must apparently 
belong to the dress, and the dress must belong to you. Remember also 
that your clothes must always be in harmony with your body and also 
with your age. 

Your figure is of primary importance; keep in mind that you cannot 

C 6 3 

wear anything and everything. The lines of your dress must be en rapport 
with the lines of your body (one must complete and even correct the 
other, and a well chosen dress is the clever accomplice that will cunningly 
help you to display your type of beauty to the best advantage, and hide 
vour defects). 

Don't think it necessary to adhere faithfully to any one dress; look 
carefully at the frock presented to you and see what help it can be or 
what harm it can do to your figure. Is the outline the most flattering to 
you? Will the shoulder or armhole make your figure look too broad or 
less broad? Is the waist line so placed that your bust will look long 
enough in proportion to your lower limbs? Or will your lower limbs look 
too short? Does the length of the skirt give you the right proportion and 
lend ease and dignity to the costume ensemble as well as to yourself? 
Is the neck line becoming to you? Adapt the decrees of fashion to your- 
self, for you can only in a small measure accommodate yourself to the 
vogue of the hour. 

The seasonableness of the dress should also receive careful thought. 
It is simple for the woman of moderate means to avoid having dresses 
she can wear but a short time only, or dresses which will look out of place 
as soon as the season changes. She can, as a matter of general rule, avoid 
velvets, or too many velvet frocks in winter, and it is not essential that 
she wear muslin or organdie in summer. 

For your more elaborate clothes — those you do not wear every day — 
it is well to limit your choice to the soft silks, dull or shiny, the crepes, 
the failles, the chiffons; and if you are brave enough to defy the seasons 
and wear out your clothes before the vogue passes, you will feel satisfied 
with the result of such choices as indicated. 

Of importance, also, is the occasion on which the dress is to be worn 
and the combination of one material with another. A blouse of shiny 
satin should not be worn with a cheviot skirt, or heavy broadcloth with 
a blouse of filmy crepe de chine; neither should a velvet gown be worn in 
the house in the morning nor a calico dress to a formal evening affair. 

The right dress in the right place will not only insure approval of your 
mode of dress, but will also manifest your breeding and your tact. Out- 
side of a shop, a dress is not, in itself, a beautiful thing, only as it is a part 
of yourself; and it then becomes beautiful in association with you and 

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the background, atmosphere, or surroundings in which it is worn. Our 
great stage women know this, and in portraying their roles they select 
the gown or frock best fitted to convey to the public the personality they 
are playing. If you will recall some play you have seen and review men- 
tally the gowns worn, let us say, by Madame Nazimova, you will com- 
prehend how each costume developed your understanding of the char- 
acter and also assisted in interpreting the atmosphere in which each 
scene took place. 

If you were going to a party, would you be very loud? Not likely. 
Would you be silent? That would hardly be your intention. Just so is it 
with your dress. You would prefer to behave in a well-bred manner; 
so should you dress — in the right apparel on every occasion. 

And though, at first thought, this might seem to call for a large ward- 
robe, second thought would point out that this rule really makes the 
situation simpler. Avoid the loud, the extreme, the dress too markedly 
seasonal; and with a few clothes, judiciously selected and worn at the 
proper time, you will not have to run the gauntlet of criticism or be un- 
comfortable because of clothes unsuited to the season. 

Now, for a few details. Here is a way to be different and at the same 
time express your own personality in your own way. Don't think you are 
completely dressed when you have your dress on. There is another outlet 
for your good taste and fancy. The right shoes, the right hat, the right 
handbag, the right gloves, the right handkerchief or flower (not omitting 
the correct jewels or ornaments), are all constructive details in what the 
costume expresses, and are the touches which complete or destroy the 
artistic effect. Concentration on the details of your dress is like giving it 
a background against which its perfection becomes more perfect. And 
by a study of such changes in the details as may contribute to a satis- 
factory picture, you give a new lease on life to the dress. And here, as in 
all matters relating to dress, be careful — studiedly careful — not to over- 
look the fundamental principles of line and color. If your dress is plain, 
relieve it with an extra touch; if your dress is elaborate, it is probably 
sufficient in itself, so avoid overbalancing or overdoing; if your dress is 
somber, your fancy may dictate safely a touch of color in your handbag, 
or in your ornaments, providing these details are well combined, and 
either contrast or supplement the effect of dress in a harmonious way. 

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If your dress be brilliant, do not add anything to it; do not destroy 
the color scheme, if there is any, and remain neutral in the selection of 
details. To achieve perfection in these points requires much study and 
training, but the result justifies the work; therefore study yourself, with- 
out self-indulgence, impersonally and dispassionately, and try colors and 
tints; limit your taste and choose a certain number of things only — 
things which are, self-evidently, your things. And while making the 
most of your advantages, remain yourself by making your clothes a part 
of your individuality. 

"The woman worth while" expresses through her personality an 
individuality that should not be smothered by clothes. Her silhouette 
always remains the same. It is seldom except through a stretch of years 
that a woman's figure changes. Therefore the author is personally opposed 
to the waist line being at one time five inches above the waist and at 
another time five inches below. 

Fashion does not follow any set laws. There are principles oj good taste, 
but there are no real laws of fashion. For this truth, we would like to find 
further emphasis. Indeed, it should become the slogan of those who 
design in America to-day. There are no laws of fashion; there are only 
principles of good taste. 

We do not maintain that fashions should not change. Were the 
weather always the same, we would not appreciate the days of sunshine. 
So we believe that for one season, the skirt should be short; for another 
season, long; we believe the neck line should be square at one time, at 
another round, for the same reason. And we conform to the belief that 
one tires of a sleeve that is everlastingly a sleeve. Some seasons it should 
be as wide as the kimono worn by the Mikado himself, sometimes as 
tight as the wrappings of a mummy. This gives interest and charm to 
clothes, but we think the silhouette should remain the same. The founda- 
tion of the dress line should always conform to the anatomy and should 
always be soft and pliable; the lines of a dress should always be subtle, 
but never severe. Subtle lines that only touch the figure are much more 
artistic and surely in better taste than the old-fashioned "princesse line" 
of which possibly we have all heard. 

Fads, such as the trousered dress, should be tabooed. A woman should 
always be a woman. She should leave to the other sex that which is 

C 9 3 

rightfully theirs, and costuming which tends to make a woman less 
womanly should never be encouraged. 

And while on this phase of dress, let us say there is a style for the 
girl which should remain hers; there is a style for the middle-aged woman 
which should be only for her. It is but natural and pardonable that the 
woman might wish to look like the girl, the girl like the woman, but in 
adapting the desire to the individual, the laws of good taste should be 
our a'uide. 

C 10 3 



JLF our readers will close their eyes and draw a concrete mental picture 
of each of the types presented in the following dress problems — studies 
which we believe will clarify our theories — they will receive much help 
from the cases in point in determining how to arrive at an analysis of 
their own lines. 

A lady, whom we will call Miss B, sought advice as to the problem of 
her figure. She is the typical "average girl," a lover of the outdoors, 
interested in modern sports, and endowed with an excellent sense of pro- 
portion; yet in her moments of solitude, she broods. She blames Nature 
for not having bestowed on her "a smart figure;" she complains, "I think 
I have good taste; if only I had a figure!" 

Miss B's age is not relevant for our purpose, but it may be said she 
is at that period when the charms of girlhood have become mellowed. 
Her complexion is fair; her weight about one hundred and thirty-five 
pounds; her height, five feet, five inches. Dressmakers call her figureless; 
but this seems a fallacy, because you might as easily say that a human 
being is characterless. It is true that Miss B's hips are not large; her bust 
line not accentuated; it is also true that her neck is a trifle too long, her 
limbs an inch or an inch and a half too short; but with that faith which is 
born of a knowledge of the dressmaking art, we shall show how she — 
and others — may profit even from their limitations. She has now learned 
the wisdom of self-knowledge, and being essentially modest, is going to 
dress in such a way that her natural limitations will be subdued and her 
natural grace — latent in all women — further enhanced. 

Miss B, as you will have noted, is a little long-waisted; and for that 
reason we must be careful in making her bodice to see that it has a soft- 
ness created by either a shirring or slight fullness at the sides under the 
arms. She should not wear surplice effects; but she can and may wear a 

C n 1 

V-neck, providing the space between her neck and the point of the V is 
filled in or built up with either lace, tulle, or a tucked fabric and the 
vestee so formed brought to a becoming line. We wish to emphasize the 
fact, however, that her best neck line is the bateau, or, as some are pleased 
to call it, ' 'the round neck." She can also wear the Dutch neck. 

Her correct sleeve length and its relation to the waist was a problem 
to her, and her dilemma was increased by the shifting decrees of fashion 
on this subject and also by the fad of lengthening sleeves. Here, as in other 
instances, it was made clear to her that once the principle of line was 
grasped, and properly applied, difficulties vanished. 

For example, she was much puzzled over the kimono sleeve. She had 
been told it was not as becoming to her as the set-in sleeve — a conclusion 
which had been reached owing to the fact that the kimono sleeve had been 
cut too close to her under arm, giving her a flat appearance rather than 
the so much desired softness. Had this kimono sleeve been cut two or 
three inches wider at the sides, a soft effect would have been secured and 
a better line created. But even after the mistake was made — with the 
kimono tight across the chest as a result — the adding of a panel, either 
front or back, or both front and back, would have given her a most flatter- 
ing line. 

Her puzzle over the long sleeves was settled in the following manner; 
she was taught that the long sleeve should have a certain degree of fullness. 
A loose sleeve, be it noted, serves to suppress inartistic details of the arm. 
On the other hand, if a short sleeve was Miss B's desire, it was made so as 
to achieve at least two inches above the elbow or two inches below — thus 
subduing the over-accentuated elbow bone, so that when the arm was 
raised or lowered, or the elbow in motion, the beauty of line was still 

Further regarding the long sleeve, Miss B was told that a much better 
line could be obtained, and her hand made to look more slender, if the 
sleeve were taken right to the wrist; and in case she desired a sleeve that 
was not lengthened to the wrist, the sleeve was cut loose, as a matter of 
beauty, so that it fell gracefully any distance between the wrist and the 
elbow — bearing in mind, of course, that the sleeve must always be two 
inches below the elbow, as above mentioned. 

Another line discussed with Miss B was that of the under arm. This 

C 12 3 

was a most interesting detail because, whether in a girl of sixteen or a 
woman of sixty, the under arm is the most flattering line the human 
figure possesses. For this reason, one should never permit this beauty to 
be broken up by any ornamentation of the line from shoulder to waist. 

The problem of Miss B's skirt length was not a serious one. She was 
advised not to wear a skirt draped across her knees as that would cut her 
height and give her a dwarfed appearance; further suggestion was made 
that the drapery fall below the knee, as this would give her a long line. 
When she wanted a tunic or apron, it was brought to a point two inches 
above her knees or about three inches from the bottom of her skirt; and 
in accordance with the artistic aim of giving as much length to her appear- 
ance as possible, she tabooed a belt or girdle more than an inch below 
her waist line. 

Since her neck was a trifle too long, she did not wear her street frocks 
too low. The preferable natural line for her neck is the round or Dutch, 
she may experiment with the bateau, but she will do well to be self- 
sacrificing and leave the V-shaped neck to her friends whose necks are 
shorter and stouter — unless, indeed, she fills in or builds up as described 
in a preceding paragraph. 

Miss B is fair — a condition which makes it possible for her to wear 
almost any color, with the understanding, of course, that she selects 
appropriate colors for her costume and for the occasion at which it is to be 
worn. A later chapter will be given to the subject of colors, and places 
and times at which various costumes may be worn. 

Miss B has come to the realization that color sense may be developed 
from observation of the blues, the pinks, the mauves, and the grays of 
the skies, the harmonious blending of sky and earth with the foliage of 
the seasons, the gradations of greens in grass, flowers, and leaves. She 
has learned that the neutral colors of one bird's feathers, the bright plum- 
age of another, have their relation to the color scheme, both of their 
immediate background and that of the universe. 

For her hat, she will not select colors lighter than her hair, for ex- 
perience has shown her that yellow or tan for the blonde type may be 
superseded by more flattering colors. She may wear almost any dark 
colors, the lighter shades in greens, reds, and the pastel colorings. 

Having considered the case of Miss B, I want you now to meet Miss X. 

C 13 3 

You know her — if you don't know her personally, you are acquainted 
with many like her. She is forty or possibly forty -five years of age, tall, 
well proportioned (although she feels that she is quite a few pounds too 
heavy) and the scale would probably record from one hundred and sixty- 
five to one hundred and seventy pounds. Some people might call her fat 
and heavy — let us say she is statuesque and cannot in consequence afford 
in her choice of clothes to select fancy effects, broken lines, and bizarre 
designs. She must always dress with dignity — which does not mean that 
her clothes must make her look older than she is — with a certain purity of 
line, and also with softness. A mistake too popularly accepted and too 
often seen is that of dressing the big type of woman in tight clothes. 
Have you ever seen a statue fitted tightly into her draperies? And who 
has so perfect a body that it is wise to exhibit every curve or every angle 
of it? Dress softly, no matter what your figure may be. Under the graceful 
folds of the materials — who knows? Perhaps you are too thin, perhaps 
too fat — at any rate, you keep everyone guessing; and the softness of 
your dress is your best accomplice. 

But to return to particulars. Miss X should avoid too much tightness, 
also too much fullness. The straight or chemise dress has proved to be 
the almost ideal dress for Miss X and women of her type. 

Since this is the case, and since, in addition, this type of dress has been 
worn for a few years, let us proceed to analyze its lines in detail. 

Beginning at the neck line — this might be a V-shape, a long oval, a 
square — even a bateau line, providing it is curved down the front and 
not quite a straight line between the shoulders (which line would make 
Miss X look too broad, short-necked, and too long from the neck to the 
waist line). 

The armhole of her frock should be cut in the normal place — a trifle 
narrower, perhaps, unless she wears a kimono sleeve, though she should 
limit this sleeve to her soft material gowns. When her dress is made of 
woolen material, heavy silk, or velvet, her best solution will be the set-in 
sleeve, or even better, a sleeve mounted on the lining, independent of the 
dress, so she may move easily without putting all her dress in motion. 

For her waist line, it is always advisable to pull the waist up a little, 
so as to get a slightly bloused effect. Don't overlook the fact that Miss X 
probably has large hips; consequently, the dress hanging straight down 

C 14 1 

from her shoulders would make her look larger than she is in reality and 
also too tall, whereas an indication of a waist line, a blouse that softened 
the figure and maintained a correct proportion between hip and bust, 
would mitigate and even flatter the too full lines of her figure. It might 
be added that a wide sash, softly draped about the hips, is the best 
selection, as this flattens the fullness of the skirt and also gives the appear- 
ance of a longer waist line. 

Concerning Miss X's skirt, it should be full enough to allow grace of 
motion and comfort, and yet narrow enough to obviate cumbersomeness 
and detraction from her height. A too full skirt for Miss X would draw 
attention to her breadth. Length, of course, would be according to the 
mode or vogue, without exaggerations — Miss X would understand that 
the too short skirt would be incongruous with her physique and that a 
too long skirt would be too old and uncomfortable. 

Now about her sleeves: as always, try to secure softness. As her arm 
is really fat, she should avoid the long, tight sleeve. The upper part of 
Miss X's sleeve should be rather well fitted, finished with a long, wide or 
perhaps slashed cuff (some sort of a bell or pagoda sleeve will hide the 
extra embonpoint of her upper arm) . 

Miss X has given much thought to materials and colors, so she realizes 
that too vivid shades, too lustrous satins, make her look larger than she 
is and far too conspicuous, and that fancy materials with big figures and 
fabrics with stripes running across are not for her. Nor does she wear 
the ' 'disconnected dress" — a skirt of one color, a bodice of another. When 
she does wear this combination in a three-piece suit, she has some of the 
skirt material introduced into the bodice to soften the tone — a panel front 
or back, straps running up like suspenders, etc. 

Her selection of clothes is about the same as any other type of woman 
might choose; she does not, however, attempt the strictly tailored suit — it 
is more than likely to give her figure a hard, mannish appearance. She finds 
more becoming a one-piece serge or light wool material with coat or cape. 

No one, nowadays, likes the stiff and heavy satins or brocades of our 
grandmothers, and Miss X avoids them; nor does she wear taffetas. Her 
best selections are the soft satins (she avoids the too lustrous or too shiny), 
the crepes, the failles, and the soft velvets; and she does not forget the 
chiffons, the soft laces, for more elaborate occasions. 

C 15 H 

The willowy sister of Miss B is another type of which we ask your 
consideration. At first glance, we thought she was in the early twenties; 
on closer inspection, we came to the conclusion that her years might have 
been subdued by the charm of correct dress and color selection. Her gown 
was so fashioned and she seemed so slight that we hazarded the guess she 
did not weigh over one hundred and ten pounds; and great was our surprise 
to learn that her five feet five and one-half inches of height represented 
one hundred and twenty-five pounds of weight. 

She was ' 'a pronounced brunette," with clear complexion, with rather 
thin arms and neck, and collar bones that would perhaps have marred the 
picture, had it not been that these defects were minimized by the correct 
cut of the neck line of her dress. She has learned from her sister to keep 
in mind the neck line of her frocks — the round, Dutch, and bateau being 
most preferred by her. 

Being endowed by Nature with a slender form and graceful carriage, 
it was not difficult for her to soon learn how the selection of her clothes, 
as to both color and design, should be made. While her figure and her 
type allowed her more freedom than her less fortunate sister, she did not 
go to extremes in either line or color, but dressed always in good taste. 
Let us give you an idea of her frocks during the past year. 

For a June day, she wore a frock of flowered chiffon with yellow back- 
ground against which were placed motifs in different shades of mauve — an 
evidence of how carefullv she had studied just what color combinations 
she could wear, and what she should avoid. She knows that for her coloring- 
reds and half tones, browns, whites and autumn shades, (unless she 
happens to be a trifle sallow), as well as hues of mauve, are best. 

Generally, the neck line of her frock is the bateau; she is careful that 
it is not too broad or too long — a wise precaution in concealing the defects 
of her neck. In the case of the chiffon frock noted above, the waist was 
cut rather full, forming a slight blouse at her waist line; a slightly draped 
girdle of self-material, with sash ends at the sides, joined waist and skirt — 
the latter being draped, in soft, beautiful folds to a point between the 
knee and the hem of the dress, and the drapery again brought up to her 
waist and adjusted underneath the bow. The sleeve, loose and full, was 
caught in prettily at the wrist. A picture leghorn hat completed the 

I 16 3 

In the matter of the length of her skirt, Miss B's sister never went to 
extremes. Her draped skirts were long enough for grace, and her sport 
clothes were worn at the proper shorter length of seven or eight inches 
from the floor. 

For a day in the early fall, too cool for a silk dress, and still too warm 
for a topcoat or heavy suit, she wore a chic frock of navy-blue cloth, 
decorated with a bit of embroidery in old red and gold. The waist of the 
frock was so made that it could be worn either closed or open — an arrange- 
ment made possible by a cut down the center front to the waist line. When 
closed the neck line fitted snugly to the throat, the embroidery following 
around the line of the opening down the front. A collar of fur finished the 
neck. The waist, when worn open, formed revers with a satin vestee in 
front. The sleeves were of three-quarter length, bell-shaped, and set in 
the dress itself, giving a tailored effect. The embroidery design was 
again developed at the bottom of the sleeve, the sleeve being faced back 
with the same shade of red as appeared in the embroidery. Knife pleating 
had been set in on both sides of this one-piece frock, and a cloth belt, 
about two inches in width, with a buckle of old gold, supplied the ' 'final 
touch" to the details of her costume. A rather large black satin hat 
completed the picture. 

At a dance on New Year's Eve, she appeared in a vivid shade of ver- 
milion velvet, quaintly suggestive of an older fashion in its picturesque 
ensemble. The skirt was particularly interesting; its fullness required 
proportionate length, but it was a little shorter in front than in back, 
faced up with bright silver lame. Of course, you would anticipate that a 
frock of this type would have a tightly fitted bodice; and so it was — an 
old-fashioned basque, cut with a bateau neck line, higher in front than in 
back; the shoulders were cut so long as to form a pretty cap sleeve, covering 
a shoulder bone which otherwise might have been too pronounced. Waist 
and skirt were joined by a cord of the velvet, dipping slightly in front. 
Two huge vermilion velvet and silver lame bows added a final note of 
cavalier times. Above this simplicity of silhouette line and magnificent 
color combination, her black hair gleamed in soft, deep tones — she was 
indeed a picture. 

For spring, she had a three-piece suit of faille crepe in tan and cocoa 
color combination. Her dress was a simple chemise frock of tan with a 

n 17 3 

pleated apron front and back, the apron being pleated in sections of the 
two shades. A bateau neck line, full-length sleeves gathered tight at the 
wrist and set on the lining to allow for freedom of motion, with a narrow 
belt of the material, completed the dress. Her coat was of brown, hanging 
in a box effect and of the proper length for her height. The sleeve was a 
loose bell shape set in a tight armhole. A small collar of self-material 
finished the coat and a large hat of brown milan straw and taffeta com- 
pleted the costume — a study in brown. 

So much for the types we have presented for your consideration; 
perhaps you belong definitely to one of them. At any rate, let us say here 
that the ever-changing styles prevent a permanent analysis of what you 
mav becomine,lv wear. Still, were we to hold the kev to future costuming, 
dress would lose much of its charm. 

But whatever the vogue, whatever the season's fabrics, a knowledge 
of the laws of line and an understanding of the lines of your figure (which 
you may analyze in the manner indicated above) will prevent you 
from making mistakes and will enable you to form your decision as to 
your correct dress in relation to new modes. And don't, as too many 
people do, call these new modes "the decrees of Fashion"; rather consider 
them as indications only of what you may do in adapting them to a new 
interpretation of your personality. 

: is : 



vj)PRING is in the air as we write; the brightness of the sun invigorates; 
one fairly beams with energy and hope. Suddenly, one catches a glimpse 
of one's self in some mirror — and oh, what a shock 1 Forthwith, a decision 
to have a new frock and a hunt through all the magazines and papers — 
an intensive scanning to find the dress one has in mind. 

Some dresses merely cover the body, as some houses only keep out 
wind and storm, but beauty should never forsake either clothes or dwell- 
ings. One should dress to make one ' s self more beautiful, and this thought 
should premeate the work of all dressmakers. 

And what have you in mind? Are you thinking of what use you wish 
to make of the dress? Will it be your only frock for wear in the street — at 
luncheon — and for dinner? Will it be one of three dresses of the season? 

For the purpose of this chapter, we will assume your wardrobe is to 
contain three dresses. The manner of selection is indicated below; but it 
matters not how rich or how poor you may be, your selection must be 
followed by religious precision and adherence to the self-analysis that 
should precede the event of a new costume. 


Whether you dwell in town or country, you are doubtless of the type 
of woman whose first thought is of the ' 'womanly " dress. The ' 'mannish " 
phase in clothes has perished with the leaves of far-away summers and 
we do not believe it ever made much appeal to you, anyway. So for the 
street dress, you will naturally select a pattern suitable for your type and 
wearable for the occasions which accord with your environment. 


The cloth dress serves many purposes — for the spring, to wear without 
a coat; for the fall, to wear under a topcoat; for the winter, to wear under 

C 19 3 

a fur coat. "Simple and well tailored/' if possible, is the Golden Rule for 
a dress of this description. 

So much for a brief caption of the ensemble of this frock; but what 
about its details? The sleeve, for instance? This detail should be given a 
great deal of attention; it should fit snugly at the shoulder; it may be long, 
tight, or three-quarter length, or it may be loose and cut with a flare below 
the elbow, according to the mode. 

A frock of this type may be ornamented with braid or stitching in 
black or self-color, and it is always becoming to have collar and cuffs of 
stitched batiste, heavy thread lace, or linen. Several sets give opportunity 
for frequent replacements and give your frock a dainty touch and a 
different aspect. If your dress be blue or black, you might have one set 
of collar and cuffs in tan, or perhaps in blue or yellow linen. 

The skirt should never be too long or too tight, so that you may walk 
in comfort. We show you on page 21 a sketch of the "correct silhouette 
of a cloth dress," adaptable for either fall or spring wear, in the form of a 
bolero frock. The blouse may be of any material preferred or any color, 
adopting the lines as shown here, unless you are too short or too stout. 


Select a dark silk (and we advise a trademarked fabric as being the 
cheapest in the long run, because the maker of this spends thousands of 
dollars in advertising his product and always stands behind the quality 
of his materials). 

Select, then, a dark silk, either black, blue, or brown. If it is a street 
frock, remember dark shades are always wearable and ever in good taste. 
Navy blue is better than French blue; dark brown always better than 
golden brown; black the most eternally dependable. And speaking of 
black, if you will select a pattern of a model youthful in line, the making of 
your frock in black will never result in your having an ' 'old-looking" dress. 

The waist should be made soft; there should always be fullness over 
the bust — a fullness created by shirring the material at the waist either 
under the arm or under the bust, whichever, after trying the different 
effects before the mirror, gives you the most flattering lines. ' 'A flattering 
effect" is one that creates a subtle curve to your bust and a longer length 
from shoulder to waist line. 

C 20 3 

C 21 ] 

The sleeves should always be set on the lining, because this adds the 
desired softness across the bust; and they may be long or short, according 
to the vogue. If long, they will require a trimming — a bit of embroidery, 
a loose cuff, or very tiny silk-covered buttons. Short sleeves may be 
finished off with a hem or a cording, but the short sleeve should never 
finish right at the elbow; it should be either two inches above or two inches 
below, to create the best effect or line. 

The neck line is something that the individual must decide for herself. 
The majority of women find a bit of white (either chiffon or lace) set on 
the lining a soft finish; and it is usually more becoming to the face than the 
reflection of the dark material of which the frock is made. 

The waist line should be a little below the natural waist line; your 
mirror is the best friend to consult as to just the proper distance to give 
you the most flattering proportions; if you look all limbs, your waist 
line is too high; if you look all waist, that is the proof that your waist line 
is too low. Keep trying, however, until your mirror tells you that the 
right balance between waist and skirt has been obtained. 

A crush belt of the same material as your frock is often used; but the 
belt may be varied by the use of ribbon in a contrasting shade. A passe- 
menterie girdle, not more than one inch to an inch and a half wide, finished 
with a tassel which, when the girdle is tied, reaches below the knee, is a 
happy solution of the girdle question. 

The skirt length should be as the mode of the hour dictates, but never 
extreme, whether the short or the long is the rule of the moment. We may 
not, in a book of this character, lay down rules as to what skirt length 
would always be correct, because a straight or circular silhouette allows 
a shorter skirt than does the draped or narrow silhouette. Here, again, 
your mirror is your very best counsellor. 


For both reasons of beauty and the many semi-formal occasions upon 
which it may be worn, the chiffon dress is a general favorite. It should 
be of the color you consider most becoming — preferably not of too light 
a tone. Black, dark blue, and brown are excellent, but if you must have 
lighter colors, there are French blue, gray, tan, or taupe. 

The waist should be made with fullness; your slip, or foundation, 

C 22 ] 


C 23 ] 

should be of crepe de chine or of satin crepe and should reach a little 
above the center of the bust and there be joined to net, which will form 
the upper or top part ol the waist. This achieves an effect of softness and 

Seldom, if ever, is a collar used for a chiffon dress; but if you must 
have one, it should be of very fine soft lace. The neck, however, is usually 
finished off with a soft piping of the same chiffon as the dress. 

The sleeves should be cut so as to fall softly. They may be an inch or 
more above the elbow, or several inches below. 

The skirt must, of course, be soft and full — the width depending en- 
tirely on whether you are of thin or stout figure. Sometimes it is wise 
to have the gathering full over the hips, with very scant front and 

The chiffon dress requires very little trimming; tucks four or five inches 
wide may trim the skirt (though this would not be good for the stout 

Again, the chiffon may be put over the lining with very little fullness; 
and over this you may add panels, back and front, or on both sides. 
These panels may be finished at the edge with small beads or embroidery — 
whichever would be most appropriate to the color you have selected and 
the occasion upon which you wish to wear the dress. 

A point to remember is that it is always wise to have your underskirt 
an inch shorter than the chiffon, as this gives a nice, soft finish to 
the bottom of your skirt. Your skirt length, by the way, should be 

The author submits the above nucleus of a wardrobe which, he believes, 
will be found satisfactory by the majority of women for most occasions. 
He will now go a step further and analyse a mental process which may be 
helpful in determining your selection of your own dress. 

There are many ways of expressing one's personality, of interpretating 
one's own feelings and thoughts. A writer employs words, phrases, and 
the ideas they convey as the shape in which to symbol forth his inner 
vision. A great actor visualizes his conception of the character his role 
portrays; and in this connection, it has been said that Caruso, as soon as 
he had donned the costume of the character for which he was cast, no 
matter how tired or jaded he might be, immediately found himself as- 
suming his part. The designer of clothes uses fabric as her medium, and 

c 24 : 


C 25 ] 

by means of line, color, and decoration subtly invokes into visibility the 
mood or personality of the woman. 

Every woman, though, is capable of being her own designer — a fasci- 
nating study, and one that will deepen her understanding of lines, their 
character, and their interrelation to the wearer's figure and to each other. 

Summoning, then, \-our best powers of observation and analysis and 
an unwearying resolve to master anew the subject of lines, let us first 
determine the design and its relation to the individual. First, there is 
the outline or "silhouette" — the ultimate character to be given to the 
fabric and the announcement of the artist's powers to weave order and 
beauty into the material for the expression of what we are pleased to 
term "a dress." Then there are the secondary or subsidiary lines — -the 
waist line, the neck line, and the bust. There are, besides, terminal points 
— at the hip line, at the top of the limbs, at the end of the knee cap, at the 
hem of the skirt, at the edge of the sleeve. 

Lines govern the dress, so the dressmaker must master lines, must 
grasp their qualities, their character, their relations, their suggestiveness, 
as an understanding of them is essential to the intelligent handling of a 

Lines invite suggestions from ornamental details, whether in em- 
broidery, ribbon, or lace. They demand an undivided allegiance to pure 
design. They refuse to have their individuality blurred or shifted in a mass 
of decorative details, but embellishment is necessary at times to complete 
what might otherwise have been an interrupted line or to disguise some 
fault in the human figure. 

A design is transient or permanent in proportion to its lines; right 
lines endure; wrong lines are short lived. And permanency is not bestowed 
by Mistress Luck, but emerges from the correct application of principles 
of construction. 

Lines converge to make a design; they can be so broken up as to 
create confusion. Lines have character; a perpendicular line may be 
dignified or severe; a lengthened line may add a cubit to one's stature or 
produce a caricature; a shortened line may add softness and charm or 
make one ridiculous. 

The term "dividing lines" is used to denote lines which divide the 
figure; they are difficult to use, as they tend to destroy the unity of 

c 26 : 

thought and feeling in the design; therefore it is advisable to start by 
designing straight lines, which are expressed best in the frock sometimes 
referred to as "the chemise dress. " 

As an extreme instance, to dramatize the point as to lines, you may, 
in your own mind, draw a parallel between the lines of a schoolhouse 
chimney, and the spire of a cathedral. What a difference in purpose, use, 
fitness, association, thought! 

The lines of one design may fit you like a natural skin; the lines of 
another design may be as inappropriate as smoking a cigarette in church. 
What is becoming to one woman may be entirely foreign to the figure of 

You have seen, we will assume, a design that interested you, or perhaps 
you have imagined a design for which there is no pattern. In either case, 
you will do well, before you start to design your own lines, to draw a 
mental picture of the finished gown as you will wear it. Your picture 
will be much stimulated and will be more "true to life" if you will start 
your mental process in front of a mirror. Before your glass determine 
the lines of the dress you should wear. There is the question of your hips; 
if they are large, select a silhouette that will soften their outline; if the 
bust line be accentuated, plan to subdue it. Are your arms thin? Your 
sleeves should have a certain degree of fullness; a loose sleeve will hide 
the details that are not so pretty. Do you desire a short sleeve? Have it 
at least two inches above the elbow or two inches below; then, when your 
arm is raised or the elbow is in motion, the beauty of line is maintained 
because by the architecture of your sleeve you have succeeded in softening 
the over-emphasized elbow bone. 

As a part of your study, you might put on one of your old frocks and 
again before the mirror, note every detail. Does your shoulder look broad? 
If so, try a fold over the side of the bust — does this not make you look 
narrower and taller? Do you not prefer the narrower shoulder to the 
broader one? Is your neck line long enough (and low enough) from 
shoulder to shoulder? If your neck is not beautiful, do not build the neck 
line of your gown too far away from the throat, and develop the neck 
line carefully in its journey from shoulder to shoulder, trying to find the 
most becoming lines. 

(Should it seem to any of our readers that 'vanity" might be the 

C 27 ] 

outgrowth of this "mirror study," we would say to such a one that at 
least it prevents much vexation of spirit, which might otherwise disturb 
what would have been a happy evening or occasion.) 

Consider the waist line — one of the most important of the secondary 
lines. It can make or mar your costume. The fashions of to-day have a 
tendency to experiment with the waist line. It is useless to make any 
general rules when dealing with particular cases; one rule, however, 
outlives all fashions and all seasons and that is, that the lines of the 
natural figure must be always followed. Knowledge and mastery of 
natural lines will enable you to solve any dress problem and any details 
of your costume. 

The vogue of the long-waisted dress makes for "beauty if the waist 
line be correctly proportioned to the figure of the wearer. The belt of 
the dress should be placed slightly below the normal waist line, keeping 
the lining, however, at the normal waist line. This might puzzle the 
home dressmaker, but one of the tricks practised by the great designers, 
in order to make the matronly figure look more youthful, is virtually to 
confine such a figure in a lining or foundation which follows the natural 
line of the figure. Every line follows precisely the figure, in reference to 
curves, et caetera, but the top drapery is where the art of the dressmaker 
is best expressed. He keeps the curves subtle by draping the material 
from shoulder to waist line, preferably one to one and a half inches below 
the waist line of the lining. 

The wide belt would increase the prominence of a bust already large. 
The figure of the thin woman, however, would attain proportion by means 
of the wide belt; and if she were short in stature, she would do well to 
place the belt either slightly below or at the normal waist line, thus dis- 
guising her thinness and creating that proportion which adds so much to 
the line of a dress. 

I 28 ] 



JLN choosing materials, one should be influenced by the quality, the 
color, the texture, the weight. 

Some fabrics are so beautiful in themselves that it is not necessary 
to load them down with trimmings. If a suitable piece of cloth is selected, 
and if it be a simple weave and a proper weight for the season's wear, it 
will look well and wear well. Good cloth will not fade or shrink quickly. 

The texture of cloth is just as important as the color. The fabric may 
be suitable in itself, but if the texture, figures and designs are too brilliant, 
it will never make a good design for you. Consider the difference of the 
texture of chiffon and net from the texture of silks or heavv materials. 

The following are the most important items in considering material: 

(1) It should be adapted to the type of dress and to the season in 
which it is to be worn. 

(2) Fabrics which are decorative in texture and pattern require very 
little trimming. 

(3) It should be of good quality to wear well. 

(4) Plain materials are suited to almost any type of figure. 

(5) The use of plain material for tucks and pleats is to be preferred 
to cheap trimming. Trimming made of self-material is preferred 
always to cheap or inharmonious trimming or ornaments. Use 
trimming only when necessary to add a line or touch — and then 
only enough to be becoming; your dress should be so made that 
there is no need to use trimming as an excuse for wrong lines. 

(6) Very broad stripes or plaids of contrasting colors and hues and 
textures should be avoided. Vertical stripes of contrasting tones 

C 29 ] 

may, however, be worn by slender persons; also, at discretion, 
pattern plaids if the skirt is not short. Stout women should 
never wear plaids. 

(7) Figured materials with large, conspicuous designs should be 
avoided by everyone. Moderately large figured materials may 
be worn by tall, slender persons if the colors are subdued. The 
short, stout woman requires plain materials or fabrics with small 

Most materials have a right and a wrong side. In double fold materials, 
the right side is folded inside to protect it from becoming shopworn. In 
materials where it is difficult to tell the right from the wrong side, the 
selvage is usually smoother on the right side than on the wrong side. In 
serge or diagonal weaves, the twills run downward from left to right on 
the right side of the material. 

Almost all the wool materials should be sponged before they are used. 
Sponging shrinks the material and if it were not done before the material 
is made up, the goods would shrink on the first damp day and ruin the 
appearance and possibly the usefulness of the garment. Sponging also 
prevents the ordinary spotting from rain, drops of water, etc. 

There are certain wool materials such as velours, duvetyn, wool plush, 
and materials of similar character that should not be sponged. Very 
thin open-meshed materials should be sponged either at the store where 
bought or at home. If you are uncertain as to whether your material 
should be sponged or not, it is wise to experiment with a small piece of 
it first. If it shrinks too much, or changes its color, do not sponge it. 

Before sponging your material, cut off the selvage, or clip it at inter- 
vals. Lay your material face down on the table. Wet the muslin with 
cold water and wring out. Spread out your material, pulling out all the 
wrinkles and lay the muslin (also spread out and free from wrinkles) 
over it. Fold the other half of the material over the muslin, roll the 
material and sponging cloth together in a tight roll and let it lie overnight, 
covered with another piece of muslin and some newspapers, so that the 
moisture will be retained. 

In the morning, unroll the material, pressing it dry on the wrong side 
as you unroll it. In sponging material of double width open it out its full 

C 30 ] 

width and sponge it in the same way, using a double width of muslin for 
the shrinking process. 

The heavier wash materials of the cotton and linen order should be 
shrunk in the same way before they are made up. 

Certain wool materials, such as velours and duvetyn, should be steamed 
instead of sponged. Use the same table, ironing blanket, and unbleached 
muslin as for sponging. Lay the material face down on the blanket. Wet 
the muslin and lay it over the material. Hold an iron so that it just 
touches the material enough to let the steam go through the material. 
Pass it over the muslin, but do not let it rest on it, or it will mark the 
material. It must just touch the muslin. 

Velvet, velveteen, panne velvet, and plush, and a few wool materials 
like broadcloth have a distinct pile or nap. Except in the case of a kimono 
sleeve garment, the nap or pile must run the same way in every part of 
the garment. In materials with a pile, such as velvet, velveteen, or plush, 
the material must be cut with the pile running up, so that the nap will 
fall out and show the full richness and depth of color. If the pile ran 
down, it would flatten and lose its appearance of thickness and depth. 

With panne velvet, in which the pile is purposely flattened, the pile 
should run down. One can easily tell which is up and which is down by 
running the hand up and down the material. 

In kimono sleeve garments that are cut without a seam on the shoulder, 
or in one piece, it is impossible to have the nap or pile run the same way 
at the front and back. Get the best effect in the front, as the back is less 
noticeable. In the pile fabrics, let the pile run up in the front; in broad- 
cloth and panne velvet, have the pile run down in the front. 

C 31 ] 



_fL SENSE of color may be defined as the ability or faculty in a very high 
degree to distinguishing colors, shades, hues — both independently and in 
their relation to each other. 

Inaudibly, but none the less definitely, color voices our emotions 
just as words manifest our feelings; we react to color as we do to speech, 
though perhaps not so consciously. Life grows richer in the presence of 
color; we experience peace, joy, happiness, under its influence, and suffer 
poverty of thought and feeling under its lack. 

And as an angry or foolish word may destroy our loveliest and happiest 
emotions, so will jarring colors or a discordant note disturb and even 
prevent our reaction to the general color scheme. There must be then 
harmonious combinations of colors; there must be proportion or balance 
in the introduction of contrasting hues or colors, in the gradation of one 
tone into another. 

Fortunate, indeed, are those who have an eye for color — an almost 
instinctive understanding of the correct selection and proper proportion- 
ing of colors. But since there is a definite relation between colors, and 
since the law of proportion or balance obtains everj^where, the possessor 
of a normal color sense need not despair. To such a one we would say 
that there are definite ways of developing one's appreciation of color. 
Association with colors is the simplest method of intensifying one's innate 
color perceptions; but to acquire an understanding of the laws governing 
harmonious combinations and a consequent knowledge of how to combine 
colors is a better method, as before the power of practical application 
may reach its fullest development, there must be theoretical knowledge 
and comprehension. 

Suppose, for a moment, that the circumstances of your life had brought 
you into touch with a new city or town — an entirely new group or com- 

C 32 ] 

munity of people. You would, no doubt, find them all strangers at first; 
then you would grow to know their names and faces; and after a time 
you would become familiar by observation and association with the actual 
and potential characteristics of this or that member of the group, with 
his family connections, his friends, his general relation to the group and 
what tradition and life influenced his actions; and were you giving a 
dinner-party or luncheon, you would try to bring together a collection of 
those members of the community who were affiliated by character, cir- 
cumstances, or thought, so that the occasion might be a happy one. 

So with color. You may become well acquainted with each member 
of the color group, the shades and hues belonging to this or that color; 
you will know what hues result from the combination of one color with 
another; the softening or neutralizing effect of tones; and you will grow 
to understand color values. 

And as there are in your community initiators and leaders of thought 
and action whose thinking and whose activity dominates the group with 
which they are amalgamated, so do certain colors dominate and lead the 
rest — the primary colors, as they are termed. 

Red, blue, and yellow are the primary colors. For long years (and this 
tradition has Nature's rainbow and the weight of great artists' opinions to 
strengthen it) purple or violet, indigo, blue, green and yellow and red were 
called the primary colors; but science has discovered that red, yellow 
and blue can be combined to produce "the secondary colors" as they 
are called. Blue and red, for instance, form violet; red, yellow, and blue 
make indigo; yellow and blue make green; and orange is a combination of 
red and yellow. 

All other hues, all other tones (shades and tints) are but members 
of the color group, relating to or taking their origin from primary or 
secondary color combinations, tones being achieved through the neutral- 
izing effect of black for shades and white for tints, or through hues of 
another color. 

With what a thrill must the first dyer of material have contemplated 
the fabric in its new aspect! Here was beauty — in a pliable form, and 
adapted to everyday needs. The first wonder of coloring materials has 
gone; but you of this modern time may know something of that joy if, 
when you are about to buy a new costume, you will experiment in fabrics; 

n 33 3 

and in this experiment of yours, you must bear in mind that a third factor 
in color enters the calculation — yourself. 

At the risk of reiteration, we repeat once more the essential importance 
of a careful study of one's self — the color of one's hair, one's eyes, the 
tones of one's skin, the final impression you wish your personality to 
convey — all should be weighed carefully in your mental thought when 
you are selecting the color for your new costume. You want to be 
sure that you are purchasing the fabric most becoming to you — a 
material whose color will enhance the tones of your skin, give you a 
happier or sweeter expression, deepen your eyes, or beautify your hair. 
A woman who dressed for years in blue discovered one day that she 
became subtly beautiful in brown. 

Still another factor must be reckoned with — indeed, two more factors — 
the light and the background against which your costume will be worn. 
The effect of light on color is too well known to deserve more than passing 
mention, but we recall it merely as a reminder to our readers of the in- 
tensifying effect on color of high light, the subduing effect of dimmer softer 
lights. Orange, for instance, becomes yellow under high light, brown 
under lower light. 

And 3 r our background — a dark red dress on a wintry, snowy day, looks 
warm and beautiful; but picture the same dark red dress on a sweltering 
afternoon in mid- July. Booth Tarkington, perhaps unconsciously, 
taught a lesson in backgrounds to the readers of his ' 'Conquest of Canaan' 
when he sent Ariel Tabor forth, clad in lavender with overtones of gray, 
to the meeting over the bridge with Joe Louden, on a spring day. 

When you have begun to understand the part played by light and 
background, when you have mastered the combination of colors, the 
gradations of tones, you will have reached a point where you can, with 
benefit to your color education, study the works of the great masters of 
art; you will have reached a stage where you will note, with joy, the eternal 
beauty Nature paints all about you. Her skies are endless studies of 
contrasts and gradations — subtle ones; her seas run endlessly in combina- 
tions and gradations; her woods, with their everlasting play of distant 
lights and shadows, are studies in tones; and her flowers, her brightly or 
soberly hued birds, her animals, the color and tones of their fur (think 
for a moment of the midnight shining blackness of the leopard, its yellow 

C 34 3 

eyes — how small the proportion of yellow! — or the polar bear, white- 
furred against his background of ice) — they are all masterpieces in colors 
and tones. Consider the flower dear to all, the daisy — a combination of 
yellow and white; the apple blossom, with its graded pinks against a 
background of soft green leaves; consider the tiger lily and the tiny spots 
of blackness in its petals of fire, with its background of a summer after- 
noon; think of the orchid, running tints from lilac to purple; of the gay 
green and yellow parrot; of the exquisite pure red flame of the scarlet 
tanager, the Baltimore oriole. Yet these are only a few of the millions of 
color combinations in Nature. We cannot err in following her combina- 
tions; and suffice it to say that our American atmosphere is so happy an 
accomplice with Nature that we make a mistake seldom, if ever, in so 

Indeed, our greatest artist — Nature — presents her law, two-branched, 
very clearly for the combination of colors; the first is gradation, the second 
contrast — gradation being the gradual blending of one tone, color, or hue 
into another; contrast being secured through harmonizing the quality and 
quantity of one color, tone, or hue, with the proper quality and quantity 
of another, or even by the introduction of a third tone, either white, 
black, silver, gray or gold, to modify a sharp discordant combination of 

The streets, the shops, the drawing-rooms of our cities and towns — 
our theaters (even the movies) teem with color combinations, color 
suggestions; watch these, analyze and criticise or praise, as the case may be. 

Returning, briefly, for a moment to the study of works of art — -a 
method of studying color of which we have temporarily lost sight in our 
discussion — we cannot be too emphatic in advising our readers to pursue 
this way of acquiring further comprehension of color play and color 
handling. Backgrounds have their part, light has its share, in every 
production of the masters, whether they are of Italian, Dutch, Japanese 
or American nativity. And if an art museum is not easy of access, little 
shops have copies of all the beautiful things the artist's brush has done 
with colors. Procure or look at some of these; note how colors have been 
combined in costumes; how tones have neutralized hues into harmony; 
how a touch of brightness or of softness has given life to dull grays, browns, 
and greens, relieved brilliancy into subtle beauty. These artists have 

c 35 n 

mixed their colors after long study and deliberation; you can do no less for 
your costume, to make it a picture of harmony and fitness. The secret of 
harmony is a proper balance of contrasts and gradations; and there is no 
easy way of discovering this secret. 

For her who would know the practical combination of hues and tones 
as they are practised to-day, there is further enlightenment in our chapter 
on "Accessories" — a study of the colors generally assumed to be suitable 
for certain types, some favorite combinations, and suggestions as to when 
and where colors may be worn. 

One cannot forbear, as one draws near the conclusion of this chapter, 
to draw attention to a combination in nature familiar to us in our florists' 
windows and in our gardens — the combination of colors in the flower 
called the pansy. Note how the bright yet soft beauty of the yellow pansy 
is deepened by the black at its center; it is indeed a beautiful contrast 
of hues. Consider how the velvety quality of the black pansy gains by 
contrast with the tiny tints at its heart; and above all, consider the purple 
pansy, with its purple hues, its lavender tints — was there ever a more 
exquisite combination of purple hues and purple tones? And the combina- 
tion of purple and yellow in another type of pansy — saw you ever 
anything more lovely from the inspired hands of the best designers? Do 
not, unless you are a rare artist, run the whole gamut of tones and shades 
of the more variegated pansies in your costume; but try to select a har- 
monious blending of the hues and tones you may find in this, one of our 
most exquisitely and variously blended flowers. 


Before closing this chapter, it would seem well to make a few remarks 
on texture, as textural quality appeals in some degree to those aesthetic 
emotions which respond to color. To some minds, the appeal of contrasting 
textures is far more subtle than the primitive reaction to color; it is, 
perhaps the most subtle appeal that fabric makes. The highly civilized 
woman whose personality finds its happiest expression in plays of texture 
should arrive first, nevertheless, at a decision as to which color harmonizes 
with or best interprets her tonal type. 

Her next reasoning should be as to which of the various texture com- 
binations — brocades with chiffon or georgette; serge with satin, chiffon 

C 36 ] 

with crepe de chine; velvet with chiffon; organdy with chiffon or georgette, 
et caetera, convey fitness to the occasion and to herself; her costume, for 
instance, for a morning's shopping or a day at the office would not be 
chiffon with crepe de chine or velvet with satin; these are for more formal, 
elaborate occasions. Nor will she wear brocades with chiffon or georgette, 
lest she might suggest a real poverty of wardrobe and an absolute and 
painful lack of a sense of the fitness of things. 

Great care in the selection of contrasting materials, an analytical 
discrimination in colors, a nice sense of fitness and harmony — -these are 
absolutely essential to good dressing. 

C 37 ] 




Fundamentals of Dressmaking 42 

I. The Tools in Your Workshop 43 

II. Stitches and Seams 46 

III. Making the Lining 74 

IV. Cutting Material from Patterns 85 

V. Putting the Parts Together — Fitting — Finishing 92 

VI. What to Wear and When: a Few Don' ts of Dress 106 

VII. Embroidery .113 

Conclusion: Accessories . 123 


JL HE greatest pianist in the world would not know how to make a piano, 
the greatest designer how to make a pattern. It follows, therefore, that 
you can make a perfect dress without knowing how to use a pattern. 

Bear in mind, however, that when you buy a pattern of standard 
make, it is mechanically perfect, made so by those who have spent their 
lives doing just this work; therefore, the selection of the right pattern 
should be your only concern. 

A complete knowledge of how to lay your pattern and cut the material 
— how to sew it together, and how to fit it — these are the essentials of 
dressmaking. And it is with these essentials, and nothing more, that 
this part of our book concerns itself. 

There are few laws of dressmaking that are really fundamental, so 
one's chances of success in making a perfect dress are limited only to the 
application of skill, taste and common sense. We shall try in this "ABC 
of Dressmaking" to set forth, as simply as possible, the few fundamentals 
that are necessary for success, hoping that your path will be made easier 
and that the so-called "mystery" of dress-designing and dressmaking 
may remain a "mystery" no longer. 

In the preparation of the following chapters, the author has been 
guided by questions which have been asked of him by students in our 
dressmaking classes and questions which have been put to him while on 
the lecture platform — in fact, he has been repeatedly asked, "How may 
one secure the proper fit of a dress? How may one set a sleeve in correctly? 
How may one arrive at a knowledge of one's proper lines?" et caetera. 

Should you, in the perusal of this book, however, find certain points 
of interest to you which have not been covered, do not hesitate to write 
us, 1 and we shall endeavor to be of service. 

July, 1923 

1 Modern Modes Company, 598 Madison Avenue, New York City. 

I 42 2 



JO.AVE you ever, as you watched the construction of a neighboring 
or adjacent building, noticed the men coming to work with their boxes of 
carpenters' tools? Have you ever watched an artist lay out his brushes 
and paints? Have you ever noted the busy housekeeper, as she collected 
her utensils for the baking of a cake or a pie? If so you can readily con- 
clude that it is a poor workman, indeed, who does not instinctively respond 
to the thrill that comes when his fingers close about the tools with which 
he is to do his work. He may not always be conscious of this response, 
but it is always there even when the craftsman's mind is busied with the 
work actually to be done. 

As a good craftsman, then, select your tools discriminatingly and with all 
discretion. Be sure your scissors are sharp, your needles bright and shiny, 
your tape measure accurate, your sewing machine well oiled and clean. 

The most precious possession of the home to the author's mind, 
however, is the sewing machine — a trustworthy one which, with its many 
attachments for trimming and fancy stitches, can surely be figured as a 
worthwhile possession. 

The first machine, we suppose, was probably a sad affair; it undoubt- 
edly had many ailments, dropped stitches, broke threads and kept the 
mind of its operator in a trying condition. But to-day if a well-known 
machine becomes a part of the home and can be depended upon to run 
smoothly and behave well — as it should do if it is a standard machine — it 
surely should be reckoned with and considered as a part of the necessary 
expenses of the household, as much so indeed, as the kitchen table. 

Machine work is so much an art to-day that one no longer values a 
garment more because it has been "made by hand." In fact, the reverse 
is now true, and the ease with which we may learn to run a machine should 
count much in its favor. 

C 43 ] 

A list is given below of the "things" you will need, and also a few 
little guideboards of direction relating to these same things. 

A Sewing Box or Basket (all your smaller tools, thread, etc., may be 
kept in this). 

Thimble (of silver or celluloid). 

Scissors and shears. 

Fine pins (about 1 inch long, with sharp points). 

Needles (two kinds, one for sewing, one for basting. Sizes 7 to 9 are 
a good selection for sewing. For basting, use milliners' needles 
in the same sizes). 

An Emery Bag (for smoothing needles). 

Pincushion (one in which needles and pins may be easily inserted). 

Tailor's chalks in various colors. 

Basting Cotton (use regular cotton, white. Colored cotton is some- 
times used to mark alterations after a fitting. Tan, light blue, or 
yellow are also good for basting. Very fine materials should be 
basted with a fine sewing silk). 


Tape Measure (smooth ends — brass-clipped ends are not so accurate). 

A sewing machine of a standard make. 

Dress form or figure. 

The last item is so important as to merit a paragraph of its own. The 
dress form or figure is used in the fitting of your garments. This is pur- 
chasable in any size to fit the figure, and can generally be bought at any 
department store; if the store does not happen to have one on hand, it 
will procure one for you in a short time. It is well to buy your form in a 
hemp color, being careful to secure one in a standard type and of the very 
latest manufacture. Some women prefer an adjustable form, that is, 
one capable of being raised or lowered at will; others prefer a non-adjust- 
able form. Be careful to get one that is small enough; the bust measure 
may be right, and the rest of the form too large; neck, bust and hip 
measures should all be taken into consideration. Too large a form is 
useless; the smaller can be made to serve by making larger. 

These forms are of a composition which will permit the insertion of 
pins for draping and handling of material. 

For the further enlightenment of the home dressmaker, it may be 

C 44 ] 

mentioned that there are also forms of a special type which permit the 
making of different size dresses on one form through an expanding and 
contracting mechanism. There are also forms with a special framework 
attached for use in hanging skirts. 

Aside from all the above — scissors, pins, needles, form — the next most 
important article — perhaps the most important — is the one which is 
known as "the Pattern." It is the originating point on which everything 
else swings for weal or woe. 

So as a cardinal motto in the use of the pattern, select the one which 
after careful study seems best to fit your personal needs, and be sure it is 
a standard one. 

Our educational world of to-day, broad and complete as it is, must 
recognize the value of educating our girls to compete along lines of con- 
struction with their brothers. It is a curious survival of instincts that 
compels the girl in her infancy to play with her doll, while her brother 
plays with blocks and occupies himself with constructing play buildings. 
He may, while she is playing with her doll, even build for her a doll's 
house. While sister curls her dolly's hair, he chooses to solve puzzles for 
her amusement. She may once in a while rush in with truly feminine 
intuition and solve an intricate point, but for the most part she is content 
that brother should construct. Bearing in mind this trait of the girl, we 
reach an explanation of women's difficulty in correctly untangling the 
parts of a pattern and knowing how to put them together, whereas the 
building blocks and puzzles, if pored over in her youth, might have devel- 
oped a constructive bias which would have rendered the putting together 
of the pattern parts an easier matter. 

C 45 ] 



JtWEN as the painter prepares his canvas for the expression of what 
may be acclaimed a masterpiece, so should you prepare the foundation 
of your dressmaking. As the painter knows his colors, so must you know 
your stitches; as the artist practises his knowledge of balance, so should 
you practise your knowledge of seams, because stitches and seams are 
just as imperatively factors in the construction of your dress as are colors 
in the painter's picture. Let us, then, give our attention to this all- 
important subject. 

The basis, the foundation, of all dressmaking, so far as assembling 
the various parts or pieces is concerned, is stitches and seams. It is more 
than essential that our student bring to this part of the work great patience 
and an ardent desire to master details, if she wishes her dress, when fin- 
ished, to have a really smart appearance. That seams must be properly 
sewed and stitches neat are basic axioms in the art of making a dress. 


To many people, particularly to those who are anxious to achieve 
so-called "effects/' the basting stitch seems almost a humorous item. 
Did you ever hear a woman say, "I never baste?" A few great designers 
use pins, perhaps, but they are masters in their art; and they are much 
more likely to use pins only when developing a costume conception with 
the material draped on a form. 

It is literally true that the importance of the basting stitch cannot be 
overestimated; the wrong basting of a garment may ruin your material 
and your dress. 

A No. 8 needle or a millinery needle (which is a long-pointed affair) 
is often used in basting, and there is a special cotton, No. 40 and No. 50 

r 46 ] 

thread being favored. Be careful, though, when basting silk to use silk 
thread, as cotton may mark the material. 

Once again we repeat that no matter how simple your dress, correct 
basting is necessary. If you will take heed of this truth and memorize 
carefully the suggestions that follow, you will save yourself much time, 
and it may be that you will save material as well. 

Before basting your parts together, carefully match all the notches 
of your pattern, as noted elsewhere in this book. Then pin the parts 
together before you start to baste. Baste from one half to three quarters 
of an inch below the line on which you intend to sew, or one inch from 
the edge of the material, so that the basting stitches will not be sewed in 
with the stitches which ultimately keep the parts firmly together. And 
when you are about to remove the basting threads, do not pull the entire 
thread out at one drawing, as in so doing you may mark your dress. 
Rather should you cut the basting thread at intervals of three or 
four inches; and when you do begin to pull out, begin at the knotted 

When you baste a straight and a bias edge together, hold the bias edge 
toward you; in this manner, you can better adjust the extra fullness to 
your straight edge and prevent too much fullness in any one place; you 
also lessen the possibility of stretching the bias too much. 

When basting under-arm seams, start at the waist line and baste 
toward the top. Baste down from the waist line. Baste shoulder seams 
from the neck line toward the armseye. Side-front seams should be 
basted from the bust line to the shoulder, then down from bust line to 
waist line. Side-back seams should be basted up the shoulder-blade line 
to the shoulder seam, then down from the shoulder blades to the waist 
line. Baste sleeve up. 

Skirts should be basted from the waist line down. The one exception 
to this rule is that obtaining in closely fitted skirts, which are basted from 
the hip line up to the waist line and down from the hip line. 

Make your thread about twenty-five inches long, single (it may seem 
ridiculous to make a point of this seeming triviality, but too long a thread 
will, nevertheless, cause trouble by twisting, tangling or knotting, thereby 
not only distracting your attention, but making your basting line less 
sure), and then proceed to baste, after having knotted the long end of 

C 47 ] 

your thread, which should be about three quarters of the length of the 
thread with a small, neat knot. 

A word, however, as to the kinds of basting; there is even basting, 
uneven basting, and tailor basting. Let us start with the one most used 
and most familiar. Look carefullv at illustration No. 1 : 


^Ti^TT- ', \ <■■■ W 'l>\ *' 

No. 1 

Our artist has made this sketch for you in black and white, so that you 
mav have no doubt as to what the even basting stitch reallv is. 

The even basting stitch is used to hold edges together. Begin at the 
upper left hand of the edges you wish to bring together. Push needle 
through material, take a straight short stitch, and so proceed, pushing 
the needle in and out. Keep the stitches even and in a straight line. A 
straight even line of basting is in itself an inspiration. 

Now consider the uneven baste, as in the sketch below: No. 2 

Take a short stitch, then a long one; then another short and another long, 
until the basting is finished. Do not take the stitches too long; otherwise 
the necessary firmness is not achieved. Experience will soon guide you 
as to the best length of stitch. 

When you come to the end of your material, fasten your basting by 
two back stitches, or with a loop, so that the thread will not pull out. 


This basting is used for cloth material. Put cloth on double and have 
the thread double, about twenty-seven inches in length. Baste through 
the cloth on the double, having each stitch loose — not firm. Then lift 
one edge of the material and cut through the center of each basting 
stitch, thus leaving an exact marking for seams. In this way you secure 
absolute evenness on both sides. 

Mil,,, >,,)!„.. ,„.. )),.,!, ),,„ I,. /„, ),/,.)„. 

No. 3 

Another way is to use chalked double thread so as to mark both sides 
alike. For this your thread may be shorter. This method is used to advan- 
tage in the case of all thin materials, and is much favored for marking 
by the efficient dressmaker. It may be used also for wool materials. See 
sketch No. 4. 

There is also a tracing wheel, the use of which facilitates seam work, 
but as directions for use are furnished with these, a description is not 
necessary for the purpose of this book. 


This stitch is used for shirring, tucking, gathering, and sometimes for 
seams, if they do not require firm sewing. 

C 49 3 

To make this stitch, begin at the upper right of your edges, which you 
have basted together as previously instructed. Take several short stitches 
(you who like the nice little stitches will be in your element now) with the 
point of the needle, holding the stitches on the needle as you take them; 
then pull the thread through the material, and follow the line of basting 
(if 3^ou are sewing two edges together) until the completion of your work. 

. ..nxV^VW V^ . x . 

No. 4 

Gathering is another version of the running stitch. When you come 
to the end of your material, remove the needle and gently pull the thread 
till the material is gathered to the required fullness (see illustration 5). 





No. 5 

When several rows of gathering are used, it is called shirring. If you 
wind your thread over a pin at the starting point of each row, you will 
hold the gathering firm. Each row should be firm — each row should be 

C 50 3 

directly under the row above, for it is truly workmanlike to have your 
rows straight and even. 

Use strong thread for shirring. This stitch, by the way, is often used 
as a trimming and makes a very delightful decoration for little girls' 
dresses. See the accompanying sketch of a shirred dress for a little child. 

fins swir*mNO. 

No. 6 


In fine shirring, an edge is turned back to the top of the first row of 
shirring as illustrated. On thin material, it is well to insure an absolutely 
true line, which may be done by pulling through the material a thread 
on the grain. Two or three rows are all that is necessary for line shirring, 
unless the shirring is to be used as a trimming, in which case as much as 
three or four inches of shirring may be made, each row one-quarter inch 
apart. Shirring may be defined as evenly spaced, fine stitching gathered. 

Coarse shirring is made in the same way as fine shirring, the only 
difference being in the gathering, which is made more coarse. Shirring is 

C 51 ] 

graded by the size of the stitch — the smaller the stitch, the finer the 



This stitch is a very useful one. Frequently it is used in place of 
machine stitching by the woman who likes "everything made by hand." 
Begin at the right hand, take a short, straight stitch, then put the needle 
back to where you began your stitch, insert and pull through the same 
length beyond the stitch. It is superfluous to say that the stitches should 
be straight and even. See illustration No. 8. 

No. 7 


This is a running stitch combined with the back stitch. It is accom- 
plished in the following manner: take several running stitches, then one 
back stitch, and proceed in this way. This stitch is used to secure firmness 
when the running stitch will not accomplish this purpose to one's entire 
satisfaction. See illustration No. 9. 

C 52 H 

fs i an •■!„:■■ i, ,~im 



'kV V 1 - , 'mI 

No. 10 

No. 8 


ji, .., .1,. *.. ■■my., hi '■'■'*" »■•'■>■■ |Lia la '"■- htiiifclu 

gV V v .*">, ' -- ■ ■ 

, ^ . — . g 4f 

No. 9 

No. 11 

I 53 ] 


This stitch is generally used for overcasting seams or raw edges, to 
keep the material from fraying. Hold your material in your left hand; 
fasten thread with back stitch or knot (for a trial) ; start with your needle 
from the under side of the material, put your needle through, bring the 
thread over the top of the material, then start needle from under side 
again, and continue in the same fashion. Do not pull the stitches too 
tight, and make them deep enough, so that they will not pull out of the 
material. Illustration No. 10. 


This is a stitch often used on very fine material. It is used to sew two 
folded edges together. For the beginner, it is wise to baste the two edges 
together, then proceed as in overcasting, placing the needle in from the 
back, pulling it through, and bringing thread over the top of the material. 
Continue as in illustration 11. Take even stitches and do not pull the 
thread tight. The stitches must be small enough to hold the edges of the 
material firmly. 


When one has reached the moment where one may begin the seam, 
one has arrived at a thrilling stage. Your cutting has been done; you 
have mastered stitches by practice; and you are ready to put together the 
various parts. 

No. 12 

The plain seam is the simplest; baste the two edges of the material 
together as indicated above under "Basting, "then sew with back stitch or 
by machine. Make your seam deep enough, so that the material will not 


First, make a plain seam as above. Then turn in the edges toward 
each other; baste edges together, then overcast as in illustration 13. 

C 54 3 


Again make a plain seam on right side of material, just far enough in 
to hide the raw edge. Then fold the seam in, using the stitches on the 
seam as edge, and stitch again, this time on the wrong side of the material, 
deep enough to cover the raw edges of the first seam. 


Make plain seam on wrong side of the material. Trim one side of the 
material close to the seam, and fold the wide edge in towards the cut edge. 
Then lay the work flat on the table and hem the turned-in edge. This 
seam, when finished, should be flat as in illustration 14 : 



ijmjIiiii J"||"|i' rjnw T 

«• v m\w\ IKU ^"'' 

No. 13 

This seam is used for under-arm or skirt seams. 

Now put the needle through the material, then take a small, straight 
stitch on the turned-in edge (the needle pointing to the left) and continue 
along the entire edge. The stitches must be kept even so that the right 
side may show the rows of small, straight stitches — the stitches of a true 


The Roll Seam is used when materials ravel or when a narrow joining 
is required. Have the edges even, baste together, then roll edges over, 
and overhand with small, close stitches. Bring the stitches from under 
the roll; that is, put needle in back of material. Illustration No. 15. 

C 55 ] 

^viidNfr Side 


No. 14 




No. 16 

C 56 3 


This is a form of stitching used on edges. Turn the edge down very 
slightly, and apply running stitching. Then roll the top down over the 
edge about one sixteenth of an inch and overhand with fine stitches. Use 
a very small needle. This form of stitching is used for chiffon edges, 
thin silks, and fine lace edges. Illustration No. 16. 


The edges of the material are stitched together, in the usual manner, 
about an inch from the edge. Then the two edges are pressed back 

V„ |„ u/,... «... i,.,,luf,r In, i It., lin i.ii Hi i ii, 

))i iii i iiii i i m ' U i |I"»i ' THtprl im i "| ' mi mi .mn um^nu 

No. 17 



No. 18 

and down to the wrong side of the material, as in the illustration. The 
raw edge on each side of the seam is then turned slightly back in a tiny 
fold which is kept in place by a running stitch. See illustration No. 17. 

Another excellent plan for obviating the raw edges of a seam is the 
device shown above, a piece of narrow ribbon binding being placed over 
the raw edges and held in place by means of a single running stitch in 
the manner indicated: 


A very valuable stitch to know is the slip stitch. This is used for 
turned-in edges when one does not wish the stitches to show. 

Fold your hem to the desired depth; then baste. Fasten the thread 
under the fold of the hem when you start; bring your needle out through 

C 57 3 

the crease of the fold at the under edge of the hem, taking up only one or 
two threads of the material, then slip the needle along the inside of the 
folded edge, bringing it out a short distance from where you began. Then 
take a very small stitch into the material, then a long stitch along the 
inside of the folded edge, and so on, until work is completed. 


Hemming is the form of stitch employed for fastening the hem of a 
garment to the material. The hem is made in this manner: First turn back 

No. 19 

No. 20 

No. 21 

on the wrong side of the material a tiny fold sufficient to insure a perfectly 
smooth, straight edge. This smooth, straight edge will be the top of your 
hem, when your work is finished, so turn back another fold to the depth 
desired in the manner shown in the illustration. No. 19. Hems ma3' be 
anywhere from two to seven inches in depth, according to material. 

Having made the second fold as indicated, take the material in your 
left hand; insert your needle just below the edge of your first fold or top 
of the hem; push upward slightly to the left and catch with a tiny stitch 

C 58 3 

the edge of your hem to the material; proceed in this manner, taking very 
small, neat stitches. 


When a skirt or dress of heavy wool or cloth material is hemmed, the 
turning under of the raw edge renders the hem thick and clumsy; the 
method usually employed, therefore, for hemming materials of this type 
is to stitch binding on the edge of the material and then sew the outer 
edge of the binding to your material, forming the hem. No. 20. 


No. 22 


In many dresses, the French fold is used in place of the hem. For 
instance, a serge dress may have a French fold of satin; a lace or chiffon 
dress may have a satin or crepe fold. These folds may be of any width 
desired, but the narrower French fold gives a smarter appearance. After 
cutting the required number of bias strips, sew them together, press the 
seams flat, and then stitch the edges of the binding to the edge of your 
material on the right side; roll the binding over the edges to the wrong 

t 59 3 

side, turn in the raw edge of the binding and slip stitch to the material so 
as to cover the first stitching on the right side. Illustration No. 21. 


Facings are of three kinds — straight, fitted, and bias. They must be 
cut on the same grain of the goods as the material you wish to face. 

A straight facing is made from a piece of goods cut straight across the 



-I I » I I — nul l I I »■ H l < '' 

f^lO-ttT SIDE 



|ii ii' 1 1 rrm "in 

mill i. i i i 1 1 

No. 23 

For a bias facing, take the goods on the straight grain and fold diago- 
nally to make the bias. In other words, fold your material so that the 
lengthwise grain and the cross grain are at right angles to each other. 
Then cut the desired depth of facing, the diagonal line serving as a refer- 
ence guide in maintaining the line, and you will have a perfectly true bias. 
The advantage of the bias facing lies in its power of being stretched to 
circle a curve or go around a point. Illustration No. 22. 

For a. fitted facing, lay that part of the garment which is to be faced 
on your material, being careful that the grain of the goods and the grain 
of the garment part are identical. Cut your facing, first tracing the 

t 60 ] 

outline of the garment where necessary. Then, having shaped your facing, 
you may cut to the desired depth. 

For example, let us suppose you need a five-inch facing. Measure off 
with a tape measure the desired width of your goods, allowing for seams. 
Lay your facing on the right side of the material, edge to edge, and then 
baste. Stitch the basted parts together, then turn over the facing on the 
wrong side of the material and baste again, edge to edge; finally, hem the 

11 him |di ii jiwi )]))) ) i » ' [\w\ piwiiwiiini i hid iii 'H n i p | ii' » 


No. 24 

top of your facing neatly, so that the stitches will not show through. 
This method will secure for you a very neat facing and a workmanlike 
edge. Illustration No. 23. 


A bias binding is cut on the same grain as a bias facing. It can be 
made any width from one-eighth inch to one-half inch or even one inch. 

Lay the binding on the right side of the material, as for bias facing, 
and stitch, taking care to keep the edges very straight. Then turn the 
binding down toward the wrong side of the material, double the desired 

C 61 ] 

width of the binding; fold on the half and hem lightly on the original 
stitching, so that your stitching will not show through on the right side 
of the material. 

For instance, if you wish to make a binding one-quarter inch wide, 
cut your binding one inch wide. Lay your edges together, as described 
above, and stitch; then turn the raw edge of your binding down to one- 
half inch wide and fold again on the half. Then hem lightly on your origi- 
nal stitching, and you will find you have a one-quarter inch binding. 
Illustration No. 24. 


No. 25 


Take a bias three quarters of an inch wide, and stitch as a regular 
seam, having your bias on the right side of your material, and then hem 
on the other side not lower than your first sewing. 

A piping can be made flat or with a cord. It is used to finish the edges 
of a dress and, as a rule, is of a contrasting color. The material should be 
soft enough to lend itself easily to the corners and curves of the dress, 
such as neck line, armholes, et caetera. See illustration No. 25. 

C 62 ] 


One of the difficult parts of finishing a garment is the making of the 
hem at the corners. 

The narrow hem may be turned in at the corners, but for the deep 
hem, there would be too much material; therefore, the accumulation must 
be cut away and the corners turned. To accomplish this, it is necessary 
to miter (see sketch 27). 

Trimmings may be mitered so that the joinings can hardly be seen. 
This form of joining may be used for turning square corners (see illustra- 
tion) on collars, for lingerie, and in fact for any form of decoration where a 
corner is needed. 

In the case of mitering a corner for embroidery, take piece of embroid- 
ery between thumb and finger of right hand. Fold the embroidery to 
form diagonal or bias in the same manner shown in illustration No. 26. 
The same design of embroidery pattern should appear on each side of the 
diagonal. Now turn material over to the wrong side and sew first with a 
running stitch along the line of the crease. Cut off the waste material 
close to the running stitch so as to avoid bulkiness, and whip or overhand 
raw edges closely together. Press with a hot iron on the wrong side; turn 
over to the right side, and you will find the embroidery properly mitered 
and corner squared. 

Lace presents two angles of discussion in regard to the square corner. 
Suppose, for instance, you wish to miter a piece of lace having scallops; 
proceed in the same manner as for embroidery, but be sure that you 
jold on the center of the scatlop, so as to match the two halves of the scallop 
together. In the case of a large scallop, care must be taken to use the 
center of two scallops. 

Turn the lace over on the wrong side, sew along the crease with run- 
ning stitch, as for embroidery, cut off waste, and overhand or whip the 
raw edges firmly together. 

Still another angle of the art of mitering presents itself — the applique- 
ing of lace on a mitered corner so neatly that the joining may not be 

If you have any heavy lace, such as point-de-Venise, or applique lace 
of any kind, you may join the corners as follows: 

First, take a stiff piece of paper and draw a diagonal or bias line 

C 63 ] 

similar to the one formed in folding embroidery or lace; place your lace 
on the paper, and fold precisely as already described along the pencil 
line. Now cut out your lace along the crease as nearly as possible to the 
pencil line, cutting in and out to save your design. From the pieces that 
you have cut off, secure various flowers and leaves and applique those 
to your corner in such a manner that the pattern is filled out and the 
seams rendered invisible. 

There are two kinds of square corners. Let us take the case of the 
square neck corner. 

There is a little knack in getting the corners of a square corner. 
It is a good idea first to trace your square either with chalk or basting 


No. 26 

No. 27 

thread on the grain of the material, for both the up and down lines of 
your square and for the meeting line, which, of course, comes across the 

Now, before cutting, begin to bind with a piece of binding or a tiny 
cording, as your fancy pleases; lay the binding on your tracing line, edge 
to edge, on the right side of the material, and apply the binding to the 
material with a small running stitch. When you come to the corner, cut 
out your square, using care not to cut to the very corner. Lay your work 
flat on the table; gather up with your left hand a small fold of the binding, 
right at the point where the two lines meet, so that the top of the fold 
will run true with the tracing line, meeting the line on which you have 

C 64 ] 

been running your stitch; then, with your right hand, turn the binding 
backward on the tiny fold until a little triangle is formed; fasten the point 
of this triangle firmly to your material, just as if you were continuing your 
running stitch; take the binding in your left hand and manipulate this 
round your corner to form a square, keeping the edge of the binding true 
to your tracing edge. When you have finished running the binding on, 






— x 





v- - - -\ 



No. 28 

RlCrrtT SIOB. 

you may cut along your tracing line; then turn the binding on the wrong 
side of the material and tack lightly. A little practice will soon enable you 
to become an adept in producing a real square corner. See illustration 
No. 28. 

Another form of square corner is that used in the square edges of 
coats, tunics, wraps, and so forth, as per illustration 27. It is formed in 
this way : 

C 65 3 

We will suppose that you are squaring the corners of your coat. First 
turn your side and bottom hems in to the desired depth, both being the 
same width. Again, lay your work flat on the table. Turn back the bottom 
hem and cut out one thickness on the inside the depth of the hem as 
indicated. Fold the hem back to its original position, and on the single 
thickness of material that you now have, begin to fold in and down toward 
the opposite corner, so that you will achieve the point of the triangle at 
that corner; turn the hem back and cut off more material, leaving plenty 
of edge for turning in; adjust \ T our triangle or diagonal line once more, 
and you will have achieved your square corner. 


01AT5 IDI 

No. 29 


This is one of the points in which it is exceedingly difficult for the 
home dressmaker to excel. Its position, for one thing, is important. It 
should not be any longer than necessary. If you are making a plain gown, 
you may hide the placket under a panel or sash, though it should usually 
be hidden under a fullness, or under a pleat or trimming. If it is on a seam, 
it is not so hard to make. The placket should be faced with a straight 
little piece of the material. Ten inches is generally a good length for a 
placket. Cut as indicated on the pattern. If a placket has to be cut right 
into the material where there is no seam, take a straight piece of thin 

C 66 ] 

material about one and one-half inches wide (silk, ribbon, or tape) ; cut 
your placket, lay the tape on the right side of the material and stitch all 
around it; then turn as for binding over the raw edge, allowing one-half 
inch, and stitch down on either side. The right side is for the hooks 
with the binding turned down, and the left side is for the eyes, the little 
binding forming flap or fly. Snaps may be used instead of hooks and 
eves, if desired. Illustration No. 29. 


This is a very pretty and quaint trimming which breathes of an older 
world and is still always new. Smocking must be made on both the 
lengthwise and cross grain of the material. Otherwise it doesnot have 
the desired effect. 

With a pencil make little dots about one-half inch apart to the desired 
size of the smocking. You will need about double the amount of material; 
for instance, five-inch smocking will require about ten inches of material. 

C 67 ~2 

Now, if you want a band of smocking that is five inches wide and five 
inches long, you would need ten inches in width. The length does not 
vary. Pick up with your needle your first row of dots. Catch your first 
two dots together, leave a space, then catch the next two dots, and so 
proceed, leaving space and catching dots. 

On the second line of dots, you alternate: leave the first dot, space, 
catch up the next two dots, space; catch up the next two dots. On your 
third row, do as on your first; on your fourth, as on your second, and so on. 
Illustration No. 30. 


Cording is another very pretty trimming. It must be made, however, 
with great care, because the least little deviation from the straight lines 


spoils the effect. A good idea is to start with a pulled thread. Gauge as 
for tucking. Have fine cording of whatever width desired. Place your 
cord under the material and use a running stitch as for tucking. Run 
your stitch close to the cording, exercising great care not to catch the 
cording. Aleasure from edge to edge as in tucks; three-quarters or one- 
half inch between makes an attractive band of cording. 

An attractive trimming is made by drawing up the cording slightly as 
for shirring. Illustration No. 31. 


A bound buttonhold serves two purposes: the first, a useful one, 
since it holds the button; the second, a decorative, since it makes a 

C 68 ] 

To make a bound buttonhole, care must be taken that it is put on 
the right grain of the material, size and distance between each buttonhole 
carefully measured, as shown in the sketch. 

First, mark with chalk the desired size of the buttonhole, and, if 
preferred with colored thread in addition. They must be placed at an 
even space from the edge of the garment, as well as in relation to each 



No. 32 

Right side when finished Wrong side when finished 

3 steps to take in the making indicated below 

The center of the buttonhole having been traced as outlined in the 
preceding paragraph, place a piece of material of a size larger than the 
desired buttonhole on the right side of your garment. The center of this 
piece of material is placed exactly on the same line as the center of the 
buttonhole. Baste on the buttonhole, mark, and stitch all around or at 
a distance of one-sixteenth inch from the center of the buttonhole, forming 
little square corners at the edges, as indicated in the illustration. For 
the buttonhole, cut through the tracing, turn a little square of material 
in on the wrong side to form the binding on the right side, as shown. 

I! 69 ] 

Stitch lightly near the edge on the wrong side to keep the binding firm, 
and catch lightly on the outer edge of the square, sewing the corners 
firmly on the wrong side. Press with a hot iron, and the finished bound 
buttonhole will appear as shown. Illustration No. 32. 


First chalk out on your garments the size of buttonholes required; 
measure the space between each buttonhole to secure accurate distance 
between. You may mark with thread if your wish. Then cut along the 
line of thread or chalk. With needle and twist, start from the right-hand 
corner and overhand, this being a stitch similar to overcasting, all around 

No. 33 

the buttonhole, making the corners nicely; then buttonhole stitch all 
around the buttonhole. 

Buttonhole stitches are made in the following manner: put the needle 
through with an upward motion and draw the thread over the needle 
to form a loop at the top of the buttonhole; fasten firmly, but not tightly, 
and proceed as shown in the illustration. Note the finish of the stitch on 
the inner edge of the buttonhole at the corner. Illustration No. 33. 


Tucks, when used as trimming, are adaptable to either thin or heavy 
materials. If you wish to tuck chiffons, organdy, or any thin material, 
always pull a thread across the material for your initial tuck. 

Pin tucks are charming. In making these, take up the smallest amount 
of material — one-sixteenth inch, if possible — and use a running stitch 

C 70 ] 

with a fine needle and No. 100 cotton. A space of one-quarter inch between 
the edge of each tuck is generally good gauging. From initial tuck measure 
one-quarter inch; indicate by mark exact point; then make one-sixteenth 
inch tuck, proceeding in this manner you will find that a one-eighth space 
is left between each tuck, the problem of even spacing being thus taken 
care of. 

Clusters of pin tucks are indeed pretty with either plain space between 
clusters of lace or ribbon insertion, as your fancy dictates. For larger tucks 

c rrA uK.. M*I\K ING. 



No. 34 

No. 35 

space accordingly. Great care must be taken, however, that all tucks 
be made perfectly straight on the grain, or their beauty will be spoiled. 

When tucking heavier material, such as silk, cloth, serge, et caetera. 
it is necessary to baste the tucks, being careful to use the straight grain. 
Measure accurately the desired tuck and space, using tape, or rule and 
chalk. Mark your tuck, baste and stitch by machine. Illustration No. 34. 

To make a two-inch band of tucks as a border on a skirt, with one-inch 
space between tucks, chalk a line for the first row of tucking two inches 

C 71 H 

from the edge; allow a turn-in of one-quarter inch, which forms the hem 
as well as the tuck. Chalk out as many tucks as you wish to make, seven 
inches apart. Next, pick up the chalked edge; use a two-inch marker of 
cardboard and baste your tuck, turning it downward toward your hem 
tuck, and you will find a one-inch space between tucks. Illustration No. 35. 

It may be mentioned that, in chalking out your tucks, you should 
scale your second tuck from the bottom of the hem, and so on, up the 

For larger tucks, the proportions must necessarily be larger; if you 
want five-inch tucks, chalk the first tuck five inches from the edge, allow- 
ing for turning-in, as before, to make the hem. Then, if you want two 
inches between tucks, take the next chalked line twelve inches from the 
bottom of the hem; turn the tucks downward as before, and you will 
have five-inch tucks with two-inch spaces. 

Caution — Be careful when cutting your lengths to allow for the 
length of the garment plus tucks. For instance, each two-inch tuck has 
to have four inches; each five-inch tuck, ten inches, added to the length 
of the material. 


This form of trimming is a first cousin to fluting. It can be made in 
firm materials only, such as taffeta, satin, twill, serge, et caetera; in fact, 
any fabric that is firm. (For illustration see Coarse Shirring, page 52.) 

Turn the material double the depth that you want, on the wrong side, 
chalk straight lines across the material three-eighths or one-half inch 
apart. Next chalk lines lengthwise one inch apart across the first set of 

Then, with double twist, take stitches one inch long across the material 
on your chalked lines. Each stitch must be one Inch long, and you must 
follow straight on the chalked lines. Pull your threads together as closely 
as you can, because the organ pipes must set close to one another. When 
finished, tie your threads to hold the pipes in place and when you sew 
them on, catch only to the wrong side of your organ piping. 

While the subjects of pleats does not really come within the range of 
this book, the wide interest at the moment in the pleated skirt, the one 

C 72 ] 

best suited for sports wear, has induced the author to include a discussion 
of it in these pages. 

If possible, have your pleats made by machine, as the steam tends to 
keep the pleats in better and more firmly than does hand pleating. Always 
allow three times the size of the pleat desired. For a one-inch pleat, allow 
three inches of material; for a two-inch pleat, six inches; three-inch pleat, 
nine inches. 

If you wish to make a skirt, say for 40-inch hip measure with a one- 
inch pleat, you will need 40 x 3 inches or 120 inches of material — three 
lengths of 40-inch material. 

Before pleating, make your hem straight on the cross grain of your 
goods, hemming by hand or machine; if the material does not tear across, 
pull a thread before making the hem, as it must be perfectly straight in 
order to pleat well. 

After the pleating is finished, put the skirt on a form and gradually lay 
your pleats in from the hip line to the waist line (a distance of about 9 
inches) to fit your waist line. 

Next, make your skirt the proper length. Sew the tape on the wrong 
side at the hip line, catching each pleat to the tape, so as to keep the pleat 
in place. Have a band of belting ready; turn down the top edge of the 
skirt and sew against the top edge of the belting. 

A little note as to the plaid skirt may interest our readers in connec- 
tion with the study of lines I Plaids, because of their tendency to disturb 
the natural lines of the body, are best worn pleated. In this manner 
coherency and firmness are secured for the scattered design of the plaid. 

t 73 ] 



JLN dressmaking, as in every other field of endeavor, it is well to know 
every labor-saving device and to safeguard, wherever possible, against 
the making of mistakes. We should, therefore, select the dress form which 
will be the foundation of all our work. If the figure to be fitted be our own, 
we shall eliminate the possibility of ripping and refitting by the purchase 
of a standard form, smaller than our actual size. We should place thereon 
a lining from one of our old well-fitting frocks; padding either with tissue 
paper or with cotton, we should mold the bust line with care, so that it 
may really duplicate our own figure; and if we carry out this part of our 
program correctly, we are assured that our home dressmaking is starting 
in accordance with true accuracy. 

"Safety first" is the axiom supreme of dressmaking; therefore we 
would further advise that, before you cut into your material, you try the 
pattern which you have selected on your dress form. You can make the 
necessary changes in the pattern — a device which will not only eliminate 
possible later cutting, but also create your own individual pattern to 
place on your material when you start to cut. 

The first step in the making of a dress is the making of the lining. 
If you are, for example, size 14, 16, or 18, your case is not a difficult one; 
you may even use what is termed a "soft lining." A soft lining is one 
with only two seams — in fact, it is merely a soft slip, gathered a little at 
the waist and finished at the top with a little net, or straps over the 

But if 3'ou are larger than size 18, a close-fitted lining will be required, 
even though you are going to drape the material softly on the lining in 
order to make the dress model. A pattern of a close fitted lining can always 
be bought in any size desired, but it should be cut in a firm fabric that 
does not stretch. In such a pattern are notches showing the waist line; 

c 74 : 

these notches should be carefully traced on the lining; and when making 
alterations or adjustment, it is most important that these tracing marks 
be kept at your waist line, and adjustments, if necessar\% should be made 
at either the under-arm seam or the shoulder seam; that is, if the lining 
be a trifle longer from the waist line to your shoulder than your actual 
figure, the adjustment may come at the shoulder seam, because if this 
plan is not precisely followed, you would find your waist line either drop- 
ping or pulling up out of proportion to the natural line. If, however, the 
length be very marked, it would be better to take a tuck across your 
pattern before cutting the lining. 

You may, with materials which stretch easily, cut the material on 
the cross grain (the material for lining) instead of lengthwise, eliminating 
thus not only the possibility of the lining being stretched out of shape, 
but also of the seams pulling out under strain. 

In order to keep the figure in place, the lining is cut in sections or parts, 
this form of lining being usually referred to as the ' 'French lining/' The 
center front, side back, and center back should be cut ordinarily on the 
straight grain of the material, to insure comfort for the wearer. The lining 
may open either in front or in back, depending entirely on the style of 
dress selected. There should be a fitting with the parts basted together — a 
preliminary fitting, we might call it; and after the lining is completed, 
and the hooks and eyes in place, it should again be taken from the form, 
tried on your figure once more, and final adjustments made, a process 
which we will explain more fully later in this chapter. To secure the 
proper results, it is necessary that the fitting be done over a well-formed, 
well-fitting corset. Our readers know very well that an old corset has 
often lost its shape. The lining should be well pulled down over the figure, 
the waist line properly adjusted, and the center-back seam pinned in place, 
so as to insure accurate adjustment. Have someone do this for you, if 
possible; if not, the adjusting may be done by yourself, in front of a mirror, 
where you may discover which seams may be taken in and which let 

After cutting the lining, baste the shoulder and under-arm seams 
together, making proper allowance for seam, according to the directions 
on the pattern. Then try on the lining to see how it fits; bring the two 
closing edges together in a proper manner and pin with great care, starting 

C 75 ] 

at the waist line with the first pin. Smooth the lining carefully to your 
figure; ascertain the correct waist line by placing the tape measure around 
the waist and moving this up and down, from one place to another, until 
you are positive that you have the correct waist line for yourself. Pin 
in accordance with the tracing marks on your pattern — you will remember 
that we mentioned this earlier in the chapter; in the tracing marks indi- 
cating the waist on the pattern should be pinned at your waist line. In 
other words, the waist line of the lining should be at the natural waist 

Now that waist and center back seam have been pinned to secure the 
lining in place, you may give yourself up to a study of the fit. 

Are the armholes too tight? Cut very carefully at the side front; 
three-eighths inch is deep enough, but be careful not to make the armholes 
too large. 

Does the neck seem too high or too tight? Exercise discretion — don't 
cut out too much; the three eighths of an inch above recommended will 
serve in this instance; cut less if possible. 

Does the lining seem to draw to one side at the waist line? In that 
case, see if your waist line is even all around; possibly the waist line at the 
back of the lining is higher or lower than is the waist line of the lining in 

Do the shoulder seams appear too loose? With pins, mark how much 
they must be taken in to insure proper fit; be careful not to pull up the 
waist line in making this adjustment of shoulder seams. If the seams 
appear to be too tight, then you will have to rip out your bastings — 
though you may be able to indicate by pins at your first fitting about how 
much higher the shoulder seams will have to be placed, or how much 
material let down. But be very sure that both shoulders are alike. 

Are there wrinkles in front between the shoulder and the neck? This 
is hardly a fault of the lining; rather would we say that the pattern makers 
are at variance with the natural hollow of the neck in their calculations. 
In order to remedy the trouble, take out your pins and basting threads 
at the shoulder seam and draw or pull the lining toward the back from 
the center of the shoulder to the waist. A too long-waisted lining may be 
the reason for the wrinkles which sometimes appear at the back near the 
neck, or the shoulders may have been sloped too much. Rip out the 

C 76 1 

bastings; draw the lining up on the figure, smooth out the wrinkles, and 
pin together once more on a line that will insure a smooth fit. 

Be careful not to fit the lining in too closely at the under-arm, and do 
not slope in too much at the waist line. If you are wearing the proper 
corset, the lining will follow a straight outline under the arm to the 

If the lining seems too tight across the bust, rip the under seam and 
let out as much material as required, remembering that both sides must 
be alike. Should one of your shoulders be higher than the other, both 
sides must be fitted. 

If the seam bulges over the bust, pin until you secure the correct line; 
then, when you remove the lining, take in darts as needed, pinning when 
the alteration is correct. Darts are little folds of the material which start 
from mere nothings and develop into the required size to fit the lining 

Pin all your alterations as you proceed. Remove the lining, mark the 
lines of pins with tailor's chalk on both sides of the new seam; then baste 
through or between the chalk marks, taking out the pins as you baste. 

Two problems sometimes encountered in the first fitting of a lining is 
the adjustment of patterns to rounded shoulders and full bust. With 
care and patience, these difficulties may be removed by the application 
of either of the following methods : 

Method A — If the shoulders or bust are but slightly rounded or full, 
as the case may be, cut a little wider across the pattern to allow for more 
of the lining being taken up. 

Method B — If, however, the bust be very full, slash the pattern across 
the bust within one and one-half inches of the armhole, but before doing 
this try the pattern on the figure. After slashing, adjust the pattern to 
the waist line correctly, leaving the proper space open at the bust. Now 
slip under the slash across the chest a piece of tissue paper previously cut 
with reference to this purpose; pin this piece of paper to the pattern at 
both edges of the slash, and work out the width of the insertion required 
to give the correct bust pattern. The same method may be used for round 

Method C — Another method, similar to the above in principle though 
somewhat more detailed, is the following: 

C 77 3 

Cut a piece of the lining material six or seven inches wide and of a 
length that will reach across the bust to the under-arm seams. Pin this 
to your camisole or slip ; now put the lining on ; pin the fronts carefully, 
and enough to insure accuracy of fit; do not for the moment worry about 
the wrinkles which will start to form from the bust to the under-arm sleeve 
causing a draw, for these are the things we are going to adjust with the 
aid of the small piece of lining pinned underneath. Have some friend cut 
the lining straight across the bust to the side front seam; then straight 
upward in a slanting or slightly diagonal line toward the armhole, this 
line to terminate an inch or one and one-half inches from the armhole 
edge at a point near where the under-arm sleeve begins. Also cut the 
material underneath for the front opening. 

The lining, when cut in this fashion, separates and drops into its proper 
position on the bust. Pin the edges of the slash to the lining underneath. 
Remove the lining, carefully baste the edges of the slash to the piece 
underneath, and try on the lining once more. 

Then take the lining apart, catting through the material underneath on 
a line with the seams; take each part of the lining and the corresponding 
piece of the pattern and correct the pattern to correspond with the lining, 
so that it is exactly similar; slash the pattern in exactly the same manner 
that you have slashed the lining, and make adjustments on the pattern 
with tissue paper, to correspond with the lining pieces inserted. 

The same method may be used for round shoulders. For our reader's 
benefit, we will briefly detail this step also. 

Put a piece of the lining material about four or five inches across the 
shoulders. Put on the lining, and if wrinkles run up from the under-arm 
to the side back seam and the lining stands out across the back near the 
waist line, proceed as follows: 

Slash the lining across the shoulders between the side back seams; 
then downward from the seams in a straight, slightly slanting line to 
within three eighths of an inch of the under-arm seam. The lining drops 
to proper position when separated. Have someone pin the edges of the 
underneath lining to your lining. Take off the lining and baste the new 
pieces in carefully; try on once more to insure correct fit; then proceed as 
before (in the case of the too full bust) to adjust the paper pattern, 
pasting the tissue underneath. 

C 78 ] 

It is only for very round shoulders or very full bust that alterations 
such as the above are necessary. 

If the pattern seems too long, make a fold halfway between the waist 
line and armhole, of the depth required to relieve the unnecessary length. 

The woman with the small bust also has her problem. She, too, 
should slash her pattern or lining in the same manner as the woman of 
too full bust; but she should not insert material underneath; when she 
puts on her lining, she will find the lining will drop in wrinkles below the 
belt; so she should slash at some point as for a full bust and lap the slashed 
edges until the lining is smoothly comfortable on the figure but not tight 
or close. Pin the edges of the slash, remove the lining, baste the alterations, 
and try on once more. When a perfect fit has been reached, take the lining 
apart and make corrections in the paper pattern in the same manner. 

Sometimes, even to-day, we find the woman of square shoulders, or 
very erect bearing. In this case, follow the same method as for round 
shoulders, so far as slashing is concerned. No under piece is needed. 
Lap the slash across the shoulders, being judicious in the amount of lap- 
ping. Baste; try on the lining, rip apart and make the proper corrections 
in the pattern. If there is any unevenness at the seam edges caused by 
the lapping, trim off and even the seams. 

For square shoulders, adjustment is made also at the shoulder seams. 
Start near the neck to remove wrinkles, sloping off the alteration toward 
the shoulder. If this lifting of the shoulder seam causes the neck line 
to be too high, slash the neck edge here and there until it is correctly 
adjusted. The sloping shoulder is also corrected from the shoulder seam, 
though the process is slightly reversed, more lift being taken at the shoul- 
der than at the neck — in other words, the alteration is sloped off from the 
shoulder to the neck. 

Now, again try on the lining to make sure that your alterations are 
correct; and if, upon this trial, you find the lining correct, you may remove 
and stitch the seams, outside the bastings, so that the lining may not be 
made smaller. You may make a French seam or you may stitch your 
seams together on the wrong side and make a fell seam (see chapter on 
"Stitches and Seams"). 

The fullness at the waist line may be taken care of by three small 
"dart pleats" set each side of the center front toward the under-arm. 

C 79 ] 

There may be also three dart pleats each side of the center back, in the 
direction of the under-arm. The darts should not be made toward the 
center. As you will perceive, this plan leaves a smooth, plain space at 
the sides. If the lining is still a little large at the waist line, gather, 
distributing the fullness so that it falls in straight lines; do not allow your 
fullness to be distributed unevenly; leave your thread until you have 
ascertained the correct fit, and then move your fullness about until it is 
perfectly even and straight. It is a good idea to place most of this fullness 
at the center back and on each side of the under-arm seams, leaving a 
smooth space directly under the under-arm. This paragraph applies to 
the soft lining only, however. 

In regard to the sewing on of hooks and eyes, your pattern allowed you 
a hem on each of the closing sides. Turn the raw edge under and stitch. 
If the edge is selvage, the hem is not necessary. Now stitch tape about 
three eighths of an inch wide on the underside of the hem to make a firm 
foundation for your fasteners. 

The lining should lap over from left to right; sew the hooks on the right 
side, therefore, and the eyes on the left. On the right, or hook side, the 
tape foundation just mentioned may be stitched to both edges of the hem, 
but on the left, or eye side, only the inner edge of the tape should be sewed 
to the hem, because the eyes are sewed between the hem of the lining and 
the outer edge of the tape, with the rounded part of the eye projecting just 
a little from the hem's fold. The hooks, on the contrary, are sewed a 
little back from the fold of the hem. 

Before putting on the tape, however, it is well to machine or back 
stitch on each side of the closing one eighth of an inch back from the edge 
and again three eighths of an inch back from the first stitchings. Then 
put on your tape and you have a firm edge and foundation for your 

Pin the closing edges of the lining together, taking care that neck and 
waist lines are even. Now put your tape measure along one side and, by 
means of pins placed crosswise, plan out the exact position of each hook 
and eye, always remembering that they must be parallel to each other, 
or exactly opposite, in order to insure even closing. 

When sewing on the hooks, separate the two rings at the back as much 
as is wise, so that the hook may lie flatter when sewed down. Place the 

[ so n 

hook well inside the closing edge, sew each ring firmly and then over the 
bill. Sew each eye through the two rings and again just at the closing 
edge. Remember that they should always project just a trifle beyond 
the closing edge for easy fastening. Sometimes, in the case of a very 
stout woman, it has been found advisable to sew hooks and eyes on 
alternately to insure the firmness of the fastening, but for most people 
the hooks and eyes sewed on together will do very well. 

To finish the armhole edges of the lining, hem all around with a very 
narrow hem, but do not pull on the armhole or stretch it out of shape. 
You may, if you wish, turn the edge under on the wrong side and face 
with a very narrow bias facing — perhaps three quarters of an inch wide, 
with both edges turned under about one quarter of an inch. Tape three 
eighths of an inch wide is also used for facing. 

The neck edge may also be hemmed very narrowly; should this make 
the neck too low, turn the edge under to the wrong side about one eighth 
of an inch and face with self-material. You may use a one-half inch bias 
facing, or you may seam the facing to the neck edge on the right side; 
then turn it over the underside and hem down, as for a binding. Tape 
may also be used if you wish. 

Very dainty frocks may be hemmed at the neck or arms with a narrow 
edging of very fine lace which may be overcast to the edges or stitched on 
flat, preferably by machine. 

You are now ready to adjust the belting. Unless you are very long- 
waisted, belting from one and one-half inches to two inches deep will 
probably be satisfactory to you. When fitting the lining, you might try 
strips of the material to see what width of belting you will require. Cut 
the belting the same size as this lining belt, allowing one-half inch at each 
end for the hem. Put the belt around the waist line and fasten it properly; 
adjust the lining to it, fastening it in place with pins set straight and 
close together. The gathers of any fullness should set straight and even 
on the belting; dart pleats must be kept in a straight up-and-down 

When the belting has been properly adjusted, turn the raw edge of 
the lining under about one-half inch at the bottom; baste on to the belt, 
then stitch strongly and firmly. Make a second row of stitching about 
one-half inch above the first row of stitching. It is not necessary that the 

C 81 ] 

lining come to the bottom edge of the belt; rather let it remain where it 
appears to set right on your figure. 

A careful following of the above plan should give you the foundation 
for a good dress. 

For sheer frocks of such material as georgette or chiffon, a net lining 
may be used and also a camisole lining of China silk or some thin material, 
taking a straight piece from the waist line up to above the bust (or as high 
as may be required) and putting straps over the shoulders. This lining 
may be opened front or back or under the arm. 

Use one- or two-inch belting, place the belt at the waist line, and fit to 
measure. Then hold in the fullness of the camisole or soft lining to the 
size of the belt. Remove the lining and try on before sewing to make sure 
that it is all right. 

C 82 ] 


1 — Collar Measurement A to A 

Measure the neck around the bottom. 

2 — Chest Measurement B to B 

Take the measure close up under the arms by passing the tape around the body above the bust. 

3 — Size of Bust C to D 

Place the end of the tape in the center of the back and measure across the broadest part of the back 
under the arm and over the fullest part of the bust to the center of the front. Just one half of the 
figure should be measured. 

4 — Waist Measurement E to E 

Pass the tape closely around the actual waist, beginning at the center of the back. 

5 — Hip Measurement F to F 

Pass the tape all around the figure seven inches below the waist line, taking the actual size of the 
hips at this point. 

6 — Length of Waist in Front A to G 

Place the end of the tape at the center of the neck in front and measure down to the waist. 

7— Width of Back H to I 

Measure across the back from H to I. 

8— Length of Waist in Back J to E 

Place the tape in the center of the back where the collar joins the waist, and measure to the waist 
line in the back. 

9— Length of Shoulder L to M 

Place the end of the tape at the collar line and measure to the end of the shoulder. 

10— Length of Sleeves N to O 

Place the end of the tape where the arm joins the body in the front and measure to the wrist. 

11 — Sleeve Measure around Muscle of Upper Arm P to P 

Measure from P to P. 

12 — Wrist Measurement R to R 

Place the tape around the wrist. 

13 — Size of Armhole M to M. 

Pass the tape around the arm. Be sure that it is close under the arm, but do not draw it too tightly. 

14— Length of Skirt in Front G to S 

Measure from the center of the front at the waist line, straight to the floor, starting from G and 
thence to S. 

15— Length of Skirt on Side T to V 

Measure from the waist line at the side over the fullest part of the hips, straight to the floor. 

16— Length of Skirt in Back E to W 

Measure from the center of the back at the waist line, straight to the floor. 

In case you should order a dress by mail, or a pattern cut specially to 
your measurements, sketch and chart will show you how professional 
measurements are taken. 

C 83 ] 

w Ej 

C 84 ] 




JljEFORE cutting, it is essential that you study the layout of your 
pattern, because a layout of the pattern in the manner shown on standard 
patterns achieves economy and proper cut. If you will follow this plan 
faithfully, satisfactory results are assured. 

"Cutting on a straight line" is only another way of saying that your 
pattern must be kept perfectly straight on the material. And let us say 
to you, at this moment, that the greatest mistakes are often made in 
cutting, with a result akin to that which happens if the foundation of a 
building be improperly laid; in the latter instance, not any skill of archi- 
tect nor any cunning decorative work will hide the sorry truth. In the 
former case — that of cutting out wrongly — no elaborate design, no 
wonderful embroidery, nor any other thing, can hide or disguise the 
imperfect lines. 

To make your own dress is indeed a responsibility. And more clearly 
to grasp a sense of that responsibility, you should know the principles of 
dress construction, and realize that these principles are accessible and 
simple in their application. In furtherance of this thought, we will briefly 
discuss the "fundamental principles" which are applicable to the subject 
of dress construction. 

There are three axioms of the art of design (familiar to art students) 
which are applicable to the making of a dress. The first axiom is that of 
Coherence; the second that of Line, and the third that of Motion. 

Axiom 1. The axiom of Coherence demands that a dress, in its 
entirety, illustrate balance and proportion in mass, detail, and color. 
This, the most comprehensive of the principles of art available in dress, 
calls for a feeling for form and architecture such as we find in a beautiful 

C 85 3 

Axiom 2. The second axiom, Line, demands that the dress follow the 
natural lines of the human figure. It is interesting to note that the prin- 
ciple of line is sovereign in all the arts and that its basis is derived from the 
manifestations of nature. John Burroughs was filled with an intellectual 
rapture before the order and the harmony of the work of nature as 
revealed in line, as taught to him in a lifelong study of trees and flowers. 
It was impressed upon him that each tree, each flower, is true in line and in 
proportion to its own nature. The human figure is a beautiful combination 
of lines — its charm in woman, as previously noted, being emphasized in 
the sinuous line from armpit to ankle. The Greeks translated this line 
into a permanent expression of beauty, but they likewise realized that 
grace of Motion (Axiom 3) is a finer quality than faultless proportions. A 
marble statue is sufficient unto its own beauty, but no one will compare it 
to a living, graceful woman whose every gesture indicates vitality and 

Axiom 5. This brings us to our third axion, Motion. A dress is intended 
not onlv to decorate the bodv, but also to enable the wearer to move with 
freedom and ease in the plastic rhythm that expresses life and personality. 
If a dress impedes or distorts motion; if a dress is littered with encum- 
brances, as in the days of the French kings and Marie Antionette; if a dress 
throws the figure off the axis of symmetry; it cannot hope to be a work of 

The above are the three fundamental principles which the home dress- 
maker, or the woman purchasing a dress, must accept without reservation 
before selecting a frock in which she will be considered "well dressed." 

As a guide, that one may not be lost in the mazes of fashion, one must 
remember in buying patterns: 

First, that the pattern should be of the right size; but remember that a 
larger size is better than one too small, because if you have a 36-inch bust 
and a 38-inch hip line, it is much easier to fit your 38-inch pattern to 
your 36-inch bust than vice versa. 

Second, that the style should be suitable to you and to the occasion for 
which it is required — a subject which is discussed under the chapters 
"Suitability of Dress" and "What to Wear and When." 

Third, that the style and general effect should be in harmony with the 
material, because the general effect of the dress depends largely on the 

[ 86 ] 

proper selection of fabric. If straight lines or soft drapery are desired, the 
softest kinds of fabrics must be used. Taffeta or any character of stiff 
silk would give you a bouffant effect — in fact, except for a very youthful 
dance frock, a ''grandmother's dress, ' or something similar, taffeta 
should never be used, as it gives you a rigidity of line that detracts from 
that axiom of motion which you desire to follow. 

It is a good idea, if the material be thin, to use a kimono waist, which 
may, as before stated in this book, be broken with panel front and back in 
accordance with requirements. 

A little talk about the one-piece gown, which is so much with us to-day, 
may not be amiss at this point. If our readers find this an uninteresting 
subject, they are at liberty to skip this part of the chapter. 

The type of one-piece dress for the beginner is the slip-over or 
kimono mode. There are no fastenings, no placket to worry about, only a 
few snaps on the shoulders. And the model being kimono, there are no 
separate sleeves to harass the beginner. Sleeves, as we have already said, 
and as the ambitious beginner will find out, are not easy; the dauntless 
souls, however, will not be discouraged by this. 

In the case of the kimono model, the pattern will tell you what to do. 
There are just two seams — shoulder and under-arm seams. Lay your 
pattern length- wise on the fold of the material; be careful about notches 
and their subsequent placing together. 

Equally important with the proper selection of a pattern is a study of 
the "grain" of the material. There are two grains — the up-and-down 
and the cross grain. The up-and-down runs on a line with the selvage; the 
other is the cross grain. Should you have difficulty in locating the grain 
in a material (say, for instance, chiffon), pull a thread, because the chiffon 
or georgette is woven on a horizontal line. This rule for pulling a thread 
obtains for all materials except wool or novelty goods. And when the 
thread will not serve the purpose of locating the grain, try tearing the 

It is imperative that you determine the grain of your material before 
you cut; so BE CAREFUL. A dress should always be cut with the 
straight up-and-down grain in the center front, and you should follow one 
grain all through the cutting and making of a dress. 

The grain of your dress is determined by the material you use; for 

t 87 1 

instance in twills, canton crepe, faille, et castera, you always cut with the 
grain; for velvets, cut against the grain, for practical reasons and for 
beauty. It will wear longer, item one; it will mark less easily, item two; 
and item three, in the interests of beauty-, you will find the contrasts in 
shades thus obtained very delightful. \ ou would not, however, desire the 
contrasting shades in silks and twills. 

It is also a good idea to fold your material lengthwise, and after you 
have ascertained the grain, make a layout of the pattern on the goods. 
A layout of this kind will give you an excellent idea of the relation the 
different parts of the pattern will bear to the material when you actually 
beein to cut. 


No. 56 

5mV ALTE.RA1 'OK '*• 

Nc. T_ 

No. 58 

Before cutting, there are preliminary ways of arriving at a knowledge 
of one's own personal requirements when making a dress. Even though 
you may have selected a pattern of the proper size, it must often be 
altered before vou cut the material. 

A woman of large bust, for instance, will find that a dart taken cross- 
wise under-arm toward bust (see sketch No. 36) will prevent the front 
from standing out at the waist line. 

Still another case might be that of the woman of large abdomen, 
who will do well, in extreme instances, to purchase the pattern the size of 

the hip and then make alterations as required in the rest of the pattern. 
For the more modified abdomen, however, it is possible to drop the center 
of a two-piece skirt from three quarters to one inch in front, lifting up the 
same amount on the sides. Allow a trifle larger at the side, according to 
need, and ease the front slightly when putting on the band, and there will 
be no chance of ' 'hiking." See illustration No. 37. 

Regarding the fitting of a sleeve, let us consider two possibilities which 
might arise — the one, that your pattern sleeve might be too large, the other, 
that it might be too small. 

In the first case, lay your pattern flat on the table and make a pleat 
through the center of the sleeve. Try on before cutting, so as to be sure 
that you have the correct size. If, on the other hand, the sleeve be too 
small, cut down through the center of the sleeve pattern and insert the 
required width. The sketch No. 38 will show how this is done, but great 
care should be taken if good results are to be secured. 

If the sleeve pattern be too long from the shoulder to the elbow, try 
a pleat in the pattern; if too short, ascertain how much insertion of tissue 
paper on the pattern will make sleeve the required length. Should the 
sleeve pattern be too long from the elbow to the wrist, remedy the trouble 
with a pleat in the proper manner; if too short, insert tissue paper by 
slashing the pattern and pasting a slip of tissue to make the pattern the 
necessary length. 

It is well to remember, when cutting the sleeve, that it is a good idea 
for the top part of the sleeve to be longer than the under part. You 
might start with five inches or a little less of extra length — your judgment 
will soon teach you just what length you require. In this way, you will 
avoid the possibility of wrinkles on your shoulder or even just a little 
below the shoulder. 

It might be well at first to spend the time — because later judgment 
will convince you of the practicability of this suggestion — in carrying 
out a plan followed by some beginners who desire that even amateur 
frocks may be perfect. 

Cut the pattern first in some inexpensive material — cheesecloth, 
unbleached muslin, or even calico. Put this on your dummy form, or 
cover a stock figure with an old lining from one of your best fitting dresses. 
Study the fit and the possibilities of improvements and alterations — in 

C 89 ] 

short, have a preliminary rehearsal before you begin to create the fabric 
into your ideal dress. 

Then, after you have fitted the inexpensive material to your dummy 
figure and made all changes, as just described above and precisely as if 
the inexpensive material were the fabric of your dress, you may place the 
adapted cheesecloth or muslin on your material, providing you have not 
stretched or pulled it too much, and follow closely the chart supplied by 
the pattern. Some beginners prefer to make alterations on the tissue 
pattern and cut material from this. 

Before cutting the outside material, read the directions on the pattern 
carefully; you will find that by following the notches in the pattern when 
putting the seams together, as directed, your task will be made easier. 
Indeed, you might put the parts together on the figure and mark with 
chalk in such fashion as A A or B B; so if, as often happens, a cuff piece 
looks like a collar, or a front panel like an under-arm, the marking done 
by you will help in putting the pieces together when they are ready for 
basting and sewing. 

You have now experimented on your figure with the muslin or cheese- 
cloth, which, for convenience' sake, we will call "the pattern." Remember 
always that you must guard against stretching this out of shape or making 
it larger. In laying or placing this on the straight of your material, in 
accordance with your chart, as noted above, fold your goods lengthwise 
to allow a double fold for cutting two similar parts or pieces at once. 
The lengthwise grain of the material runs with the selvage, therefore lay 
the pattern so that the direction of each piece runs parallel with the 
selvage. Then pin the pattern to the material, piece by piece, exercising 
great care to have the entire layout and its various parts straight and true, 
both in direction and in their relation to the grain, or up-and-down 
threads of the fabric. 


If possible, the two corresponding sides or pieces of a garment should 
be cut at the same time, to avoid the possibility of cutting the same piece 
twice. Exceptions to this general rule are noted below, but generally 
the two side pieces of a dress may be cut at one time on a double fold of 
the material and the front and back pieces in a similar manner. 

C 90 ] 

If your supply of material is scanty, however, you may be compelled 
to cut the pieces singly so as to economize on your goods; if your fabric 
has a very emphatic up and down, the pieces may have to be cut out 
separately both for appearance and for utility. And when one side front 
is made in a different manner from the other side front, you will have to 
cut on the open goods and not on the fold. 

Having pinned your pattern to the material in the manner noted and 
made sure that it is perfectly straight, and that you are following the 
grain correctly, you may begin to cut. Be sure to follow the notches or 
marks that are on the pattern and put the parts together in accordance 
with these notches and marks, for, by following this method, you will 
make no mistake. 

Suppose, for instance, your pattern shows that these marks (we 
speak now of the original tissue-paper pattern) must be followed; indicate 
the marks on the pattern you use for cutting and use a knot to indicate 
the place of the circle. 

You might have a notch like this V. This it is well to cut after you 
have finished cutting the material, before you unpin your pattern, as it is 
better to cut notches at one time than when you are cutting your garment 
as a whole. 

Before taking the pins out of the material, mark the waist line with 
basting thread at the center front and back. And it is also recommended 
that, in taking the pins out of the material, preliminary to basting the 
parts together, the collar, cuffs, and sleeves — in a word, the details of the 
main part of the pattern — be left pinned to the material until one is ready 
to baste them to the waist, which should have been previously fitted and 
adjusted. To put it in another fashion, it is well to have your waist 
nearly completed before you consider taking up the subject of the various 
parts which are to be added to it; and if these be left pinned to the pattern 
as above stated, you will find it easier to review the pieces before you 
start to put them on your dress. 

t 91 ] 



jL HE first step in putting the parts together, after having cut out material 
as outlined in a previous chapter, is the tracing of the outlines of all seams, 
either with basting or with chalk, before removing the pattern from the 

The second step, after taking the pattern off the material, is to pin the 
pieces of 3 T our dress together — the skirt and waist being kept separate 
until vour initial trving on. Trace the center line down the back of the 
waist and also down the back of the skirt; a mark indicating the center of 
the skirt in front will also prove helpful to the beginner. 

Be sure, when you are pinning the parts together, to j olio w the notches 

The third step, after you have pinned the parts together, is to baste as 
follows : 

Shoulder seams 

Under-arm seams 

Seams on skirt 

Seam of right sleeve 

The three preliminary steps having been accomplished, you maj^ turn 
your attention to fitting. But before proceeding to this operation, we think 
it well to clarify your understanding of the methods of fitting over the 
different kinds of linings. 


1. Suppose, for instance, that you have selected the plain waist or 
"French lining" described in the chapter on "Making a Lining." In this 
case, you will put the lining on your own figure; then put on the skirt of 

I 92 ] 

your dress, attaching the skirt to the belting in the proper manner with 
pins. See illustration No. 39. Then put on the waist. Join to lining at 
shoulder by means of pins — one at each shoulder, — or in the back of the 
neck, if the latter joining is called for by the type of dress. It may be 
said here that, in general practice, the dress should be joined to the 
lining at the back of the neck or tacked at the shoulders — whichever 
seems best suited to the character of the frock in process. A one-piece or 
tailored frock, for instance, should be tacked at the shoulders. 

2. Suppose, however, that you are the type of woman who is so 
fortunate as to find a straight or soft lining suitable for most of your frocks. 
In this case, your procedure will be slightly different. Put on the soft 
lining; at the normal waist line, place a belting three or perhaps three and 
one-half inches wide, adjusting carefully, as you will attach the skirt to 
this by means of pins. Then put on the waist, as in Case 1. 

The present vogue of long-waisted dresses, hanging from the shoulders, 
does not require that the belting be retained after the dress is fitted; you 
may, therefore, if you desire, eliminate this belting when you are finishing 
the dress, or at the time when you are sewing the skirt to the lining — a 
step which will be explained later in this chapter. 

Sometimes even belting is not used in fitting; "bone casing," some- 
thing like a narrow piece of tape, is used instead. 

Having put the dress on the lining and basted it together, stand in 
front of the mirror and proceed with the fitting! Pin for all necessary 

Many home dressmakers fit the entire dress at one time, but this pro- 
cedure is against all the rules of professional dressmaking. Always fit the 
right side of the skirt and the waist at the same time. Adjust the waist at 
the point desired below the normal waist line (illustration No. 40) ; pin in 
place, try on the sleeve. Take off the lining and dress pinned together. 

Next, remove the lining carefully, so as not to disturb the alterations. 
Where pins have been inserted to show alterations, trace with chalk or 
basting thread in the following manner: 

Lay the dress flat on a table; on the other side oj the material from that in 
which pins were inserted to show alterations, mark with chalk or basting in 
accordance with the pins (which show through), until your entire right side 
is corrected to accord with the alterations. Then take the left side of your 

C 93 ] 



MARK Hferte- 






No. 39 


Xo. 40 

C 94 3 

dress and correct from the right side just altered, unless, of course, a fitting 
is needed for both sides. This, however, is not often necessary. 

Again put on the lining; slip the corrected dress over it, pin at belting 
and shoulder to the lining, and once again make necessary adjustments and 
alterations. Continue until the dress is correct and ready to finish. 


For the convenience of the beginner, we have divided the finishing 
process into steps as follows: 

Step 1 — Seams 

Step 2 — Neck Line 

Step 3 — Length of Sleeve and Mounting of Same 

Step 4 — Getting Length and Hemming of Skirt 

Step 5 — Waist 

Step 6 — Pressing 

Step 1. Your under-arm, shoulder, and skirt seams, as soon as the 
major alterations have been completed, may be sewed together. Press 
open; pink, overcast, or bind, if the dress be of woolen. If you bind, each 
side of the seam must be bound. Velvets should have binding ribbon on 
edges and hem also, as the turned-in edge, in this case, would make a ridge. 
Taffeta binding is excellent for seams. 

Seams of silk dresses you may either overcast, pink, or leave. You 
might in some cases use the French seam. For dresses of very thin material 
such as chiffon or georgette, roll, picot, or French seam. 

Step 2. Put the dress on once more. Have both sleeves basted in. Fit 
the neck. See to it that your sleeves fit properly. Then face or bind the 
neck line, unless your dress has a collar. In the latter case, you will find 
directions on the pattern. (See chapter on "Stitches and Seams" for 
facings and bindings.) 

Step 3. Length of sleeve and mounting of same. The next task is to set 
in your sleeves. If you are using a set-in sleeve, the treatment will be as 
follows : 

Just as the pendulum of a clock must balance in order to secure correct 
time, so must the sleeve swing correctly in order properly to give balance 
to the dress; so while it is not so important as to how the sleeve fits the 

t 95 ] 

arm (see the chapter on "Cutting Materials from Pattern"), the manner 
in which the sleeve is set into the armhole is of the utmost importance. 

A little chat about the sleeve, therefore, may not be amiss. Two or 
three suggestions regarding the mounting or putting-in of a sleeve, if 
carefully followed, may make this eternal bete noire a little less black and 
a little less "beastly." 

Method A — Imagine a line drawn from the first three fingers straight 
up the outstretched arm to the point where it joins the shoulder (see 
illustration No. 41). 

No. 41 

The simplest way of attaching the sleeve is to put your dress, with 
under-arm and shoulder seam properly adjusted, on your form; then 
begin to pin in the sleeves, using care that the grain of the material runs 
parallel with the imaginary line you have drawn from fingers to shoulder. 

Start from the shoulder point, pinning first toward the front until 
you reach the under-arm seam; then from the shoulder back to the 
under-arm seam, in the same manner as in front. 

The reason for starting at the shoulder point is an economical one; 
supposing you were to start at the curve of the under-arm seam and after 
working up to the shoulder, discover that your material was too short, 
there would be no remedy for this predicament; but if, on the other hand, 
you had started at the shoulder point and worked down, as above described, 

C 96 1 

any superfluous fullness you might have could be fitted into the under-arm 
as you joined the sleeve to the waist. 

In putting in our modern one-piece sleeve — whether bell, tight, short 
or long, make sure that the seams of both sleeve and waist meet under arm. 

Method B — Consider your shoulder, as this is the axis on which the 
sleeve swings. In putting in, or mounting, the sleeve, it is an almost 
canonical law that you follow the line oj shoulder. Join the top of the sleeve 
to the top of the shoulder, then go straight down the shoulder to the front; 
return to the shoulder and go down the back, as noted under ' 'Method A," 
to the under-arm where the curve begins. 

There remains only the hand edge. This may be taken care of in the 
manner indicated on the pattern. First, however, determine the length 
of the sleeve with chalk or pins. 

Step 4. Getting length and hemming skirt. Skirt alterations may be 
divided into two classes, hip alteration and belt alteration. 

The hip is the first point of importance, so we will make our first 
alterations there; if the hip fit too loosely or be too large, then take in at 
the seams; if the fit at the hip be too tight, let out the seams. 

Now for the waist line. The hip must be right first; then, if the waist 
line be too large, ease the material into the belting. 

The same rule obtains in the case of the soft lining. If it be too full 
and you wish to obviate as much material as possible, you might make 
little darts from the hip to the waist line on each side of the skirt, or, if 
you prefer, you may take your material in on the back seam. 

Put the dress on once more. Now, to determine the desired distance 
of the lower edge of the skirt from the floor, take a yardstick and go all 
round the skirt, pinning at the desired distance. Some friend will do this 
for you, or you might try putting your dress on the form and with yard- 
stick and pins indicate the lower edge wanted. See illustration No. 40. 

Take off the dress and, with a piece of cardboard representing the 
narrowest distance between pins and edge of skirt, measure off all round 
the skirt, making the bottom of the same equidistant from pins all the 
way round. Allow one-quarter inch for turn-in at hem, provided you are 
not going to use the tailor's hem. If you are making a regular hem, 
overcast or slip stitch to skirt. (See chapter on "Stitches and Seams" for 
direction in sewing hem.) 

C 97 ] 

For the skirt or slip of chiffon gowns, finish the bottom with a fold of 
lace; cut away the material, leaving the bottom transparent; the fold of 
lace should be from three to five inches deep. 

Join the skirt to the belting, leaving the raw edge of skirt on the 
outside. Sew the skirt to the lining along the hem line at the bottom, 
provided the waist lining has been finished with a hem or overcasting. 
Baste the skirt into proper position on the belting and backstitch firmly 
into place. 

Attach the waist permanently to the skirt. Baste into proper position 
on the skirt, if the waist line be long; then turn under the bottom of the 
waist and sew so that the bottom of the waist covers up the seam attaching 
the skirt to the lining. 

It may be noted here that lining of the same color is preferable in the 
case of dresses of soft or thin material. The lining may be used to form a 
bust band and skirt, the two pieces being joined together slightly below 
the waist line. The dress skirt, basted together, is joined in manner noted 
earlier in this chapter and basted to the lining at waist line preparatory 
to fitting and stitching. 

Then drape the bodice, also basted together, on the form; see that the 
neck line is correct; fasten theshoulder lightly to the lining, shir the bottom 
of the waist with two rows of shirring, pin to the bottom of the bust band, 
adjusting the fullness correctly and evenly on both sides, and baste to 
the lining. Have the girdle ready, place the center of the girdle at the 
edge of the bust band, and make proper adjustment at the waist line. 
Try on the sleeve to insure proper fit. 

Our discussion of the manner of making dresses of soft or thin material 
and the type of lining suited to frocks of delicate material has led us to 
digress from the point of finishing. Indeed, there are so many points to 
be discussed in a chapter of this type that we hope our readers will, for 
the sake of the practical information given, overlook any tendency to 
ramble from the subject in hand. 

There still remains the matter of putting on the hooks and eyes or 
snappers. If the opening of your dress be on the bias, sew a piece of tape 
on each side of the opening. If a placket is provided by the pattern, look 
up directions for the same on the pattern; also note discussion of placket 
in the chapter on "Stitches and Seams." 

n 98 3 

Put the dress on once more. Mark the place for hooks and eyes, with 
either basting or chalk, on each side of the opening. You may, if you like, 
use pins to indicate the position of hook and corresponding eye. 

Then take off the dress and put on the hooks and eyes, being careful 
to hook the eye, not to eye the hook. 

Press the dress. 

In finishing, exercise every bit of good workmanship that you possess; 
great care is absolutely essential, because your gown will not only look 
better, it will also wear longer, if you finish it in a craftsmanlike manner, 
or as the architects say in their building specifications "in a neat and 
workmanlike manner." Think, for instance, of how careful work on the 
hanging panels of a gown of serge or twill will emphasize the "tailored 
finish" effect. The panels should have a turn-in of at least two inches at 
the sides, and four inches at the bottom. A thin silk binding should 
be stitched on, covering the edge of the turned-in part, and hemmed 
lightly on the other side. The corners should be mitered, bound, and the 
bottom finished in the same manner. 

When pressing, always use a damp cloth, pressing on the wrong side. 
Ii you do press on the right side, use a dry and then a damp cloth on top 
of the dry one to prevent gloss or shine. 

Velvet gowns, when completed, should be steamed. This can be done 
over the spout of a kettle. And when pressing seams on velvets, use a 
velvet board, pressing on the wrong side. 


We cannot conclude this chapter without a brief reference to one of 
the most interesting and most difficult ways of making a dress — that of 
draping. Draping is indeed an art which requires care and skill, dis- 
criminating study of what is becoming to the individual, and masterly 
manipulation of material, great care being taken to use the grain of 
material correctly. 

The Too Thin Woman, the Stout Woman, even the Short Woman, 
are everlastingly devoted to the drape. 

Why not? It is supremely graceful in itself when properly done; it 
adds grace and charm to the figure, a subtle elusive touch to the woman 
who wears it; it softens and disguises the too abundant curve, it hides 

C 99 ] 

WHON& sipe 

OPEN sound seAr<i 




French And f&ll SEAM'S used in 

No. 42 



C 100 3 

thinness; its lineage is ancient and honorable; Egypt felt its influence; 
Greece realized to the full its beauty, properly balanced against mass and 
space. Of all the designer's many methods of stimulating interest in a 
costume — whether by fold, ribbon, pleat, tuck or embroidery, surely the 
drape yields to none in gracility of line and curve. 

The amateur will be wise to select for her first attempt in draping some 
design which may be easily executed, and to choose materials which drape 
easily. She might experiment initially with such simple fabrics as un- 
bleached muslin, or even cheesecloth or net; these are not hard to drape; 
and the practice will be excellent. 

For materials such as chiffons, net, veilings, silks, she will find that 
she will need more goods for draping purposes than for heavier materials, 
such as velvets, metal brocades, et csetera. 

She must also carefully study her figure before the draping is attempted 
and use discretion in selecting the drape best fitted to her type. For the 
slender figure, full draperies on skirts are becoming; for women of large 
proportions, less fullness is advisable. Draperies on skirts drawn in slightly 
at the foot give the figure the appearance of being taller and thinner. 
For the tall, slender figure, the straight lines are more becoming. 

The pieces of material must be of exactly the right shape and size, 
the direction of the lines as true as truth itself; the correct grain of the 
material must absolutely be maintained, or the costume will be ruined; 
whether you work on the straight grain or the bias of the material, an 
unerring following of the grain is imperative, for a slight variation in 
grain results in uneven fullness on one side or the other of the costume, 
and the folds will not take the same lines. 

There are several kinds of drapery. For our first case, we will select a 
shoulder and waist drape, that is, drape hanging from either shoulder or 
waist line. (In the latter case, you will have to make your waist sepa- 
rately. Pull the material up on either one or both sides to the waist line, 
fitting it in to the figure. This is the simplest kind of drape.) 

For this form of drapery, two lengths of material are required. Sew up 
the side seams; indicate the center by a chalk mark on the straight grain 
of the material; place your goods on your form or figure, and keep this 
chalked center exactly in the center of the figure. 

If the material hangs from the shoulder, as shown in the picture, a 

t 101 3 

1 ' >4i / 

No. 45 


No. 44 

C 102 1 

horizontal slash or cut may be made on either one or both sides of the 
material at the waist line, or a little below if a long waist is desired (see 
illustration No. 43). 

Consider the material from the waist down; hold the material easily 
in your fingers, pull up the bottom edge of the slash underneath the top 
slash and attach to either the lining or the belting; if the material is not 
wide enough, more material can be added from the waist down on either 
one or both sides to satisfy one's own judgment as to what is required 
to obtain a truly artistic drape. Superfluous material may be cut away. 

When you have finished draping below the sash, consider the upper 
part of the waist. As a matter of fact, the top should be done first. Get 
the desired neck line, whether Jenny, Dutch, V, or square. Cut the 
superfluous material away from the shoulder, after the shoulder seams 
have been completed, as in the illustration. If desired more material 
may be added to form a sleeve as shown and the waist draped in the 
manner illustrated. 

To drape or hang the foundation slip, be careful about the grain in the 
bust band and hip line, for on the foundation depends largely the success 
of your gown. 

For the bust band, swing the grain of the material on the bust line, 
following the bust measure on your chart, also on the hip line for the skirt. 
This will make your slip tilt well to back, following lines of form front 
and side. 

For the skirt, drape one width across the figure, keeping the center 
of the goods on the center front; the other half width forms a panel in 
the back, allowing for a three-inch pleat on either side for sitting room. 

Join your bust band and skirt top together; fasten in the center back 
on the side, and put two little straps over the shoulders. Turn up the 
hem to the correct length and, presto! your slip is finished. See illustration 
No. 45. 

For a beginner, a drapery made to cover this slip can be made of two 
lengths of material 36-inches wide. Measure the desired lengths from the 
shoulder to the edge of the skirt. Turn an edge on the right side of the 
lengths three quarters of an inch all around your material and stitch 
around the edge as you would a narrow tuck. Turn back your material; 
double in an edge, turn over this tuck — which forms a little binding all 
around the drapery — hem lightly on the wrong side; tack your pieces 

C 103 ] 

together at the shoulders to form a bateau neck line; tack further down 
on the shoulders if you wish to cover your arms; then you may direct 
your attention to below the waist line. Sew pieces together five or six 
inches from the edge on both sides, and you will have a dress with jabots 
on the sides complete. A pretty girdle of similar material, or a ribbon, 
finishes the rather long waist line. See illustration No. 44. 
Another kind of drape may be made as follows : 


Simple, plain foundation is made first; then an extra piece of material 
forming a band, either narrow or wide, can be draped on this foundation 
as in illustration No. 46. 

The band may be draped in one continuous piece from the shoulder to 
the waist, falling easily from the waist to anywhere below the knee, then 
again brought up to the waist, either to the side front, side back, or directly 
on the side, following the waist from the selected point into a sash knot. 
To make slip use two and one-quarter to two and one-half yards of 
material, 36 or 40-inches in width — one and one-half widths for the 
skirt, the other half of the width forming the cover of the bust band. 

C 105 3 



JrSYCHOLOGY teaches us that the reactions of an individual to situa- 
tions are governed fundamentally by inheritance and environment. As a 
direct inheritance, he has, in common with everyone else, an invisible 
assortment of instincts, primitive ones; as a less direct inheritance, an 
equally invisible assortment of thoughts, emotions, and tastes which are 
the result of training or origin; and he is alternately governed by his 
environment or controls it, in accordance with these inheritances. 

With this philosophical thought in mind, it would be an interesting 
journey to trace the history of the growth in the human mind of the theory 
that certain occasions demand a certain type of dress; we could probably 
amuse ourselves with considerable speculation on the subject; but for the 
moment there does not seem to be a pleasingly concise solution for that 
clear-cut, universal, and prompt reaction which every woman and a great 
many men make to an invitation to some function or other — "What shall 
I wear?" We might humorously assert that this reaction in some of its 
degrees is almost as elemental as an instinctive process. 

Leaving the thought with the reader for what it may be worth, let us 
proceed with the answer to the query that has been put, "What shall I 
wear ! 

The scope of this book does not permit an exhaustive resume of the 
costume suited to every occasion; but the innate good taste of every 
woman and every girl is their guide; and a general rule may be laid down 
to the effect that the costume should — in fabric, make, and detail (and 
by detail we mean such accessories as ornaments, shoes, stockings, et 
caetera), studiedly harmonize with your personality and with the occasion, 
as well as with the rule, both written and unwritten, of good taste. In 

I 106 3 

other words, on every occasion analyze both the situation and your cos- 
tume and let them be in accord with good taste and with you. 

Remember that there is always individuality of dress and resonsibility 
of dress, and that it therefore behooves you to dress in a manner that 
truly expresses your individuality — not glaringly or loudly, in which case 
your dress might be invidiously termed "individual" — but in a manner 
that bespeaks your knowledge of what you should wear and when. 
It is this responsibility that each individual must shoulder for her- 

Clothes never were as becoming to the American woman as they are 
to-day; she needs only to give a little thought to her dress in order to give 
satisfaction to herself and to others. The day has passed when all women 
accepted the last word of fashion as true clothes propaganda, whether 
the vogue was becoming or not. The crimes that were committed in the 
world of dress then — even the crimes which are being allowed to-day — 
are being slowly driven back by the oncoming waves of good taste and 
studied knowledge as to the proper manner of expressing one's self in 
one's clothes. Education in the principles of correct line and color, a 
study of detail and accessories, the application of artistic principles to 
daily life, are destroying the former allegiance to Fashion's dictates. 

Let us now discuss a few specific instances of answers to the query, 
' 'What shall I wear?" 

We will suppose, for instance, that you have been invited to a wedding. 
Your costume will depend largely upon the time of day the ceremony 
takes place, whether in the morning, afternoon or evening, and also upon 
the time of year and the place. 

In June, for example, you might wear a chiffon frock, either plain or 
embellished with embroidery — the type of dress known as the afternoon 
or dinner dress. Slippers should be of satin, in harmony with the costume, 
and the stockings may either match the slippers or be of the shade known 
as "nude" — a tone much in vogue at present and which can be worn 
with almost any color. If the wedding takes place in the afternoon, you 
will need a hat; if in the evening, no hat is necessary, and your frock of 
chiffon will be more elaborate, both in embellishment and in cut. For a 
noon wedding, a hat of sheer transparent material, harmonizing with the 
costume, is in very good taste. A wrap for your frock may be of either 

C 107 ] 

cloth or silk; indeed, one's regular wrap may be pressed into service, as 
you will take it off in the reception room. 

If, however, the wedding is taking place at that time of the year when 
the flying of the snow may be expected, the dress, naturally, would be of 
a little heavier texture. The sleeves should be about elbow length. The 
neck line remains the same. Gloves are worn above the elbow, and satin 
slippers in a becoming color. 

In case you are invited to a reception of the usual informal character, 
it necessarily follows that the dress should be informal also. So you will 
wear any dress in your wardrobe that is not severely tailored, a dress 
uniting both beauty and style — a harmony of curves and lines — without 
high collar or long, tight sleeves, or stiffness, as in cloth, a dress typifying 
informalitv. There should be in such a frock an artistic carelessness of 
dress that is not rigid, either in line, fit, or texture. 

It is not good taste for this informal dress to be in one of the high 
colors; nor is it necessary that it be one of the street shades; it should be 
a happy medium in either French blue, any of the range of soft browns, 
grays, or black. 

The same type of dress might be worn with propriety at a church fair, 
a theater, or a luncheon or dinner. A hat is customarily worn with an 
informal frock of this type. In fact, the only time a hat is not worn is 
when the costume is decollete. 

A costume of this type is never tailored or rigid; it should be of a subtle 
carelessness, and the hat should correspond. It may be made either of 
soft straw, tulle, or any fabric, and should not be too large. A tightly 
fitting turban should never be worn with a costume of this kind. 

It might be well for the young girl who is going to her first party, and 
who has spent considerable time on the thought of how she will look, to 
remember that all ornaments such as glass beads, studded hair combs, 
bracelets, et caetera, should be eliminated in favor of a simple dress — 
indeed, simplicity should be the rule of her costume. It is absolutely 
essential that her hair be dressed in a simple, girlish manner; that her 
dress be neither too short nor too long; in the ensemble, the lines and 
curves of her dress should be subtle, never too tight, accentuating the 
figure. Do not be one of those ' 'whose great aim and desire is to attract 
attention." Jean Worth, the great French dressmaker, said in speaking 

C 108 ] 

of woman's dress, "... advise the canonization of simplicity rather 
than crude straining after effect." 

Pretty satin slippers and stockings to harmonize with her costume 
will be chosen by the young girl — either white, black, or matching the 
costume tones. 

When you are in the country, sport clothes are appropriate — particu- 
larly if you are young. Jerseys, tweeds, cloths of rough weaves, all are 
good. For town, however, your suit or dress should not be of the sports 
type unless you are off for a country trip, and then the early morning or 
late afternoon appearance in sports costume on the street is permissible. 
The business woman will do well to avoid buying sports costumes to wear 
to work. 

If you are of the type of girl who spends week-ends with friends in 
the country often enough to make it worth while, investment in a sports 
costume is practicable. If you have but one dinner dress, have a pretty 
one, with stockings and slippers of a harmonizing hue; the black dress, so 
often recommended, if beautifully and simply made, is serviceable for 
most occasions. In fact, any informal dress of a pretty, simple type will 
do quite well. Hats should, of course, harmonize with the costume. 

For morning wear, your frock, according to season, may be of simple 
wash materials, or a one-piece frock of silk or wool. 

When traveling, wear a simple, smart, neat costume — a one-piece 
dress of either silk or cloth, according to time of year, semi-tailored, with 
coat to match, or cape, if it is becoming to you and the vogue permits. 
A veil may be worn if desired; shoes should harmonize with the costume, 
the leather shoe being preferred by many people for wear with twills and 
cloths. The heels may be of medium height and size, or low, if one prefers 
and one looks well in low shoes. Wear a rather heavy glove if it is spring 
or winter, in black, tan, or a color to match your dress; silk, lisle, or cotton 
in summer. Your bag, if you like, may harmonize with either shoes or hat. 


To the end that after having selected a pretty and becoming frock, 
it may look well and ' 'wear well," it is essential that proper care be taken 
of the dress when it is removed after having been worn. Your shoes, your 
coats, your dress, all should be given attention. Do not neglect any of the 

c 109 n 

accessories of your costume. Don't throw your clothes down on chairs; 
brush and put them carefully away on hangers. Further, if you can do so, 
place them in a bag of some inexpensive material; light frocks should of 
course be hung in a bag of light color. Mend little rips or runs, repair 
trimming or lace collar whenever necessary. Brush your hat when you 
wear it. Smooth out your gloves, and put them away in a box or case; 
keep your belts and girdles in a separate box, neatly folded, not anywhere 
in the bureau drawer. Carefully shake your veil, fold, and put away in a 
case when you take it off. Clean your shoes and put them away on trees 
or stuff the toes with soft paper. 

To emphasize what may be accomplished by the exercise of persistent 
good taste in the acquiring of a fitting wardrobe for all occasions, we 
cannot forbear, in closing this division of our chapter, to quote to you the 
words of one of France's greatest artists in dress. He exclaims! 

I tell you that one of the best dressed women in Paris buys only three toilettes a 
year. But these three are perfect in taste, in fit, in materials. They are made of the 
choicest fabrics of their kind, with rare skill, and they accord marvelously with the 
wearer. Then, too, this woman knows to a nicety how to put her dresses on; how to 
add, just where it is wanted, a corsage knot of blossoms, a piece of real old lace, or a 
suitable jewel. 

And in connection with attention to details, he says: 

To show the care in detail that was lavished upon the dress, let me say that the 
very pattern of the brooch was designed and woven in such a manner that the symmetry 
of the wearer's figure was enhanced by it. 

If the author has indicated clearly, without confusing the reader with 
excessive detail, the two great rules of costume for ' 'What to Wear and 
When" — namely (a) suitability to the occasion and (b) suitability to the 
wearer — and it is hard to tell which rule is the most weighty — he has 
achieved his aim and rests content. For with these two rules in mind, 
good taste and knowledge on the part of the reader will complete the rest. 

As our next step in developing this central thought of suitability, we 
shall take up some of the "don'ts" of dress. 


The public — and now, for the first time in this book, we are talking 
to men, because we feel that most of them firmly believe as did a business 

[ no ] 

man who remarked to the author, ' 'Why, I could dress women better 
than they dress themselves." He was a quiet, unpretentious man as 
a rule, but we observed that like all mankind, he noted the follies of 
womenkind not as individuals, but en masse. 

After all, glaring errors are not so frequent; seldom do we find a woman 
dressed in decidedly poor taste. They are the exception rather than the 
rule. It is in the details of a costume generally that the fault lies, rather 
than in the costume itself. 

We left our sentence hanging in mid-air to pursue the sympathy of the 
business man with problems of design; what we were about to say was, the 
public is harassedly resigned to all the things women do which they should 
not do. The short skirt of a few years ago gave place to the longer one, not 
because clerical brothers exhorted against it, not because societies vigorously 
protested, but simply because fashion's logic demanded a longer skirt. 
There is a ridiculous long skirt, if the man who says much against the 
short skirt and speaks purringly of "long lines" will but stop to consider. 

And the moral of these truths is just simply, Don t go to extremes. 
It is well enough to be a la mode; don't overdo it. 

The above rule is of the all-sufficient, all-embracing type. Having 
secured the ear of man, however, we descend to particulars and invite 
his pet grievances on the subject of dress, for many of these cover our 
"don'ts" of dress to women. 

There is the matter of big hats, for instance; they shouldn't be worn 
on the street or in street cars, or with every costume. At a smart restaur- 
ant, in a hotel dining-room at the proper hour, or at an afternoon social 
function, nobody will admire the big hat in black or in dark colors more 
than the man who has loudly inveighed against it when worn for business 
or on the street. And if his wife happens to have been so kind as to give 
in to his pleadings for "a small hat" her auditory senses are likely to 
prove forerunners to a wave of indignation when the tactless creature 
asks, ' 'Why don't you get a hat like that?" Even then, if his wife is a 
dainty little creature, we would detain her long enough to whisper, 
"Don't get a large, top-heavy hat." 

Don't wear unbecoming colors, just because they are in fashion. The 
greens that come to greet each spring cannot be worn by many women — 
even youth will do well to discriminate. 

C HI 3 

Don't wear the wrong shoes with the wrong costume; it is as ridiculous 
for a woman to wear low-heeled sport shoes with a dainty frock as it is 
for a man to wear tennis shoes with a dinner suit. And in elementary 
justice to man, we never heard of his doing such a thing. If you want to 
live out of doors, well and good; it is an excellent thing; dress for the 
outdoors occasion; but for the love of good taste, don't bring out- 
doors and its equipment into the reception room. Rarely indeed is one 
called from the farm to the reception room of the large city so immedi- 
ately that the question of correct dress becomes a matter of instant 

Don't wear elaborate clothes when simplicity is the rule; this is really 
the reverse of the above case. We recall a walk taken two years ago at an 
outdoor lunch in the country: one girl appeared in sensible, low shoes 
and enjoyed herself; another wore high French heels and spoiled the day 
for herself and very nearly for the party. 

Don't wear conspicuous stripes and plaids. Give ear, Man, for this 
time you are included in our condemnation, since we occasionally find 
milady's brother or husband overstepping bounds in this particular. We 
remember with joy how one of the best bred men we know wore at a 
summer camp a lumberman's shirt in red and black; fortunately, he was of 
the type that could wear the combination, but a smile would go all round 
the group when he and the shirt appeared together. 

If you are a short, stout woman, don't wear big hats with dusty 
feathers! This occurrence is rare, but it does happen. 

Don't wear long, vertical lines, if you are of the folded silk umbrella 
type. And if you are large at hip, don't wear skirts that are narrow at hem, 
as they accentuate size of hip and trunk. 

Don't, if you are past your youth, make the mistake of wearing a too 
youthful frock. If you must err, wear the clothes suited to the elderly 
woman; much better that someone should tell you that you are wearing 
clothes too old for you than someone should exclaim, ' 'Look at that old 
woman trying to look like a girl." The lines of youth, the lines of age, are 
different, and wise women of good taste realize this. 

And if your arms are not pretty — we mean the scrawny, thin arm that 
always looks cold and bony, even on summer's warmest day — don't try to 
wear short sleeves in the day time, particularly in the street. 

C 112 3 



Jl HE decorative beauty of embroidery not only relieves the plain surface 
of the material or fabric, it also gives to one's costume new meaning and 

Just as the veins or lines in leaf and flower intensify their color or form, 
so should embroidery intensify and develop into new beauty the line or 
color of one's gown or frock; and embroidery, whether simple or elaborate, 
should relate just as naturally to the material on which it is placed as the 
tree branches relate to their background of blue sky. One should comple- 
ment the other with the same harmonious flow of beauty and fitness. 

Embroidery is the "fine art" of sewing; it links itself with lace, with fine 
fabrics, with dainty costumes. As in sewing, its perfection may be ruined 
by careless or ignorant inattention to stitches. Even the matter of the 
needles used has its importance; threads or silks have their essential share; 
and there must be in the soul of the craftsman who would achieve beautiful 
embroidery a sense of exquisite, careful beauty, and in her fingers a feeling 
for fine detail, in her soul a serene patience. 

Beginning, then, with her needle, we would give a brief resume of these 
as follows: 

First, there is the embroidery needle, used for all kinds of silk embroid- 
ery. It has a characteristically long eye; for the rest, it is about the length 
of an ordinary needle. Then there is the needle for sewing on beads; the 
crochet needle for crocheting beads on the material; there is the lame 
needle — a needle about the size of a pin, with two holes close together at 
the top (lame by the way, is a kind of wire tinsel). One threads first 
through the top eye or hole and then carries the lame through the second 
hole — a device which holds the lame flat and prevents it from twisting and 
tangling — a thing which the wicked lame is prone to do. 

The making of one's own embroidery design is a fascinating project. 

t 113 ] 

Whether you buy a "transfer pattern" as it is called, or are an inspired 
artist who is fain to make your own embroidery pattern, the way is one of 
patient delight. If you are clever at drawing, make your design on a sheet 
of paper. Place your material, right side up, below this paper, inserting a 
sheet of carbon, between the paper and the material, and with a pencil 
trace heavily so that an outline of your design appears on your goods. 

Still another way is to make your design on a piece of perforated paper, 
and then after your design is completed, use the perforating machine or a 
pin, completing the pattern in this way. Lay the design on the material 
and stamp with stamping powder. 

Another way of stamping material is to use a transfer pattern and apply 
the design to the material by the use of a hot iron on the transfer pattern. 

Having stamped the material you wish to embroider, place the fabric 
in your embroidery frame. An embroidery frame is made of four pieces of 
wood, with tape at the edge of all four sticks, so that the side sticks may be 
adjusted in accordance with the size of embroidery. Clamps are used to 
keep the frame tightly together while the embroidery is made. The 
embroidery frame is necessary in order to hold your material properly in 
place, and for your ease in studying your design as you make 3 r our stitches. 

There remains one other needle, which so far we have not noted, the 
punch needle. This needle has a sharp, triangular point with a round 
head, long eye, and is about twice the size of most embroidery needles. 
It is used, as you probably surmise, for punch work, the triangular point 
being used to punch the hole or to thrust the material aside, preparatory 
to drawing the holes together with the thread. 

Punch work is used mostly for trimming collars, cuffs and yokes and 
makes a little fancy effect which is very pleasing. It may also be used 
to decorate a border. 


This stitch may be used in different ways for outlining, for padding, 
for stems, leaves, and petals. 

To make this stitch, start at the top of the stamped line. Knot your 
thread, insert your needle on the wrong side of the material, bring through 
to the right side; insert the needle one eighth or one sixteenth of an inch 
to the left of first stitch and bring through from the wrong side about 

[ 114 H 

one quarter of an inch below the first stitch; throw the thread under your 
needle, in the manner indicated in our sketch, just as if you were about to 
make a buttonhole stitch; bring your loop into position on the stamped 
line; again insert your needle, about one eighth of an inch from the 
point where you first brought your needle through the material (point the 
needle toward you); and take a stitch the desired length inside the first 
stitch; throw the thread under the needle as before, bring the loop into 
position; and so proceed. See sketch No. 47. 


This stitch forms a raised line — the heaviness of which depends 
on the thread used. It serves for outlining your design and also for out- 
lining stems and in its simpler forms is made in the following manner. 

Make a knot in your thread, bring the needle through to the right side 
of the material, and make a running stitch about one eighth of an inch 
long. Start your second stitch about one eighth of an inch below the 
first, at a point about midway in the stitch; hold the needle toward you, 
keeping the thread to the left, so that the thread will come on the stamped 
line; draw up the thread; take another running stitch; insert the needle 
slightly below at the center point of the stitch just made, holding the 
thread at the left; draw up the thread and bring to position on the stamped 
line. Then take another running stitch, et caetera. When a very heavy 
thread is used, this stitch becomes the "rope stitch." 

Note also that the appearance of the outline stitch may be varied 
slightly if the thread be held to the right, in making the second or ' 'back 
stitch" of the series. Illustration No. 48. 


A delightfully dainty stitch, full of interest, and frequently used to 
open or decorate seams. It is made as follows: 

Knot the thread, bring the needle through to the right side of material; 
insert the needle slightly to the right of first stitch; take up about one 
eighth of an inch of the material and, as you draw the thread through, 
throw the thread under the needle to form a loop, holding the needle 
slightly toward you. Draw the thread in a straight line to a position one 
quarter of an inch below the starting-point and on line with it. 

I 115 3 

Feather stitching is sometimes used in place of a hem to hold tucks 
in place. Illustration No. 49. 


The buttonhole stitch may be made very close — one stitch almost on 
another, or the stitches may be farther apart, according to one's desire. 

It is a good idea to pad a little with one or two running stitches the 
length of the bar, before starting on the buttonhole stitch, if one wishes 
close work, however. 

Insert the needle in the material at a point in line with your running 
stitch and work the buttonhole stitch as illustrated, throwing the thread 








Chain Stitch 
No. 47 


No. 48 


No. 49 

under the needle to form a loop. Hold the thread toward you in making 
this loop, so as to hold the loop in position at the edge. Illustration No. 50. 


See the chapter on "Stitches and Seams." Embroidery smocking is 
done in precisely the same manner as described in this chapter. 


Both this stitch and the feather stitch described may be used to open 
or decorate seams. 

To make the herringbone stitch, bring the needle through to the right 

C H6 3 

side of the material. Hold your thread away from you in a slantingly 
diagonal direction to the left. Insert the needle one-half inch away from 
the original point, take up one-eighth inch of the material, with the 
needle pointing toward you, that is, to the left; hold the thread with the 
left hand so as to throw the thread under the needle for the loop; cross 
the thread in the manner indicated, point the needle toward the left and 
take up one-eighth inch of the material, this time on a line with your 
original stitch or starting point, but about one-half inch below it; hold 
the thread under the left thumb to form a loop in the thread. Your first 
herringbone stitch is made. Proceed as before until your stamped out- 
line is complete. Illustration No. 51. 

Buttonhole, stitch or oai^ 

No. 50 


No. 51 


No. 52 


As a little drop of consolation to the would-be embroiderer who has 
struggled valiantly with the intricacies of feather, herringbone, long and 
short stitches, let us say that the French knot is easier to make, very 
pretty, and usable in many kinds of decorations. 

Knot the thread, bring the needle through to the right side of the 
material, hold the needle in your right hand, and the thread between the 
thumb and forefinger of your left; wind the thread around the needle, as 
few or as many times as you wish, according to the size of the knot desired ; 
hold the thread firmly in place on the needle with the left thumb and fore- 
finger; insert the needle at a point very close to the point through which 
it has just been thrust, and pull the knot down to the material. Bring 

C H7 ] 

the needle from the wrong to the right side of the material at the place 
where you wish the next knot to be. Illustration No. 52. 


(Sometimes called the "darning stitch/' also shadow stitch) 
Knot the thread, bring the needle through to the right side of the 
material. Take up on the needle one-eighth inch of material; leave a 
space of about one-quarter inch for running stitch; again take up on the 
needle about one-eighth inch of material, leave one-quarter inch space, 
and proceed thus until the first row is completed. For the second row, 
take up one-eighth inch of material half way between the first stitch, 
leave one-quarter inch space for the running stitch, and proceed in this 



No. 53 

LON0r*ND SHORT stitch 

No. 54 

alternate fashion. The third row is like the first; the fourth line similar 
to the second, and so on. See illustration No. 53. 

This stitch is used for all kinds of embroidery. Flower petals may be 
filled in with it, made a little smaller, when it becomes the "seed stitch." 


This stitch is often used for working leaf petals and is also used for 
shading and for scallops, to make an edging solid. 

In making the scallop edge, start from the end of the scallop nearest 
to you, or whichever you prefer. If you make scallops from left to right, 
hold the thread to the left of the needle so as not to form a loop; if you 
work from right to left, keep the thread to the right of your needle. The 
length of your stitches depends, of course, upon how deep you wish to 
make the edge of the scallop. We will suppose, for instance, that you 

C 118 1 

wish to make your first long stitch one-half inch deep; it makes no differ- 
ence whether you start on the scallop and work inward, or at a point 
one-half inch from the edge and work outward: Bring your first stitch 
straight up; your second stitch you start exactly on a line with your 
first, but you make this stitch half the length of the first stitch, or one- 
quarter inch long. Proceed with alternate lengths. 

In the case of the leaf, bring the needle through from the wrong to 
the right side of the material, take the first long stitch at the tip of the 
petal or extreme point of the center of the leaf; proceed to the right with 
alternating long and short stitches, working in from the edge of the leaf, 
until one half of the petal is completed; then start again at the tip and 
work the left half of the petal in the same manner. Illustration No. 54. 


Insert the needle from the wrong to the right side of the material. 
Begin in the lower left-hand corner of the design. Take a stitch of the 
desired length, slightly to the right of the first stitch, and make several 
slanting stitches, the same distance apart, and in the same direction as 
the first slanting stitch, that is, from left to right (see illustration No. 55), 
making the stitches even. In making your last stitch bring your needle 
out at a point on the line with the other stitches, then make slanting 
stitches in the opposite direction, taking care that they cross your first 
set of slanting stitches in the manner indicated on the sketch. 


Use two threads of the required thickness; the thread which is to be 
couched is heavier than the thread used for couching. 

Place the thread which is to be couched on the stamped line; take the 
thread of lighter weight and by means of a stitch taken over the heavier 
thread, fasten the latter into place or position, being careful to hold the 
thread straight. Gold and silver thread, cord, worsted, and gold braid 
or twist are very often used for couching, being fastened into place by 
lighter threads. Our illustration will show you how the cord is held in 
place. See illustration No. 56. 

t H9 3 


(Used for making the "Lazy Daisy") 

Draw the thread through at the center of the daisy, insert the needle 
at the same point; hold the thread so as to form a loop when bringing the 
needle back to the right side of the material at a point half an inch away 
from the center. Put the needle through the loop and pull the thread 
firmly, but not tightly, take a little stitch to hold the top of the loop in 
place, and lol you have formed one of the petals of your "lazy Daisy;" 
bring the thread through to the center of the daisy on the wrong side of 

CROSt) STiTt-ft. 


No. 55 

No. 56 

the material when taking the little stitch to hold the loop in place, and 
proceed to make your second petal in the same manner. Illustration 
No. 57. 


This form of embroidery is generally applied to coarse linen or linen 
with a loose weave. A punch needle and linen thread are also required, 
and it is well for the beginner to have a stamped outline of the dots 
required, similar to that appearing in our illustration: 

Knot the thread and bring the needle to the right side of the material 
at the first dot of the second row, beginning the work in the left-hand 
corner. Pull the thread through from the first dot in the second row to 

C 120 3 

the first dot in the first row and back to the second dot in the second row; 
then to the second dot in the first row, from thence to the third dot in 
the second row to the third dot in the first row, and so on. Return for 
the third row by bringing the needle up at the last dot in the third row. 
It is well to complete any other embroidery work in your design before 
beginning the punch work. Illustration No. 58. 

LOOP snrtH 






No. 57 No. 58 No. 59 

To-day, however, crocheting is more in favor than the above method, 
that is, using the crochet needle for various embroidery stitches. 


In making this stitch, the shape of the petal or leaf is followed, the 
stitches tending toward the center of the flower or leaf. This rule obtains 
even where a petal has a distinct center vein; in such petals, start your 
stitches toward the center from the outer edge or margin, slanting the 
stitches slightly until the bottom of one half of the petal is reached; then 

No. 60 

C 121 H 

V : \ V 

No. 61 

work the other half in the same manner, proceeding from the tip of the 
leaf. The parallel veined leaf is embroidered from the tip of the leaf down 
to the stem. The stitch is worked in the following manner: 

Start at the outer edge, proceed to the center vein with one long stitch, 
slightly slanted; then start from the outer edge with the second stitch 
and bring to the vein once more, and so on, until one half of the leaf is 
finished, and bringing the stitch back to the outer edge of the leaf on the 
wrong side of the material, using the same length of stitch as will appear on 
the other side of the material. In other words, work the stitch over from 
the outer edge of the vein and back on the wrong side of the material 
to the outer edge once more. See illustration No. 59. 


Our illustration shows two ways of beading. Sketch 60 shows you how 
to sew beads on singly, back stitching for heavy or large beads to hold 
each bead in place. Running stitch is sufficient for most beads. If you 
prefer, you may string your beads on the special thread for beads and then 
couch the beads down with a stitch between each bead. Our illustration 
(No. 61) pictures the beading of a design, the beads being fastened to the 
material in the same manner, that is, either by couching or back stitching 

or running stitch. 


It is well to use a crochet needle for this. You will have to procure a 
special crochet needle, known as the ' 'crochet beading needle." Use a 
stamped design. 

Hold cotton or silk loosely in left hand underneath the material. 
Work of this type should be done in an embroidery frame. 

Punch a hole with the needle from the right side of the material, 
catch the thread underneath and draw it up through the hole to the right 
side, to form a loop. Now take an extra stitch very close to the first stitch, 
catching the silk or cotton from underneath as in the first stitch. This 
second small stitch holds the loop in place. 

For the next long stitch stamped on the design, take up the cotton 
from underneath, and then take a short stitch, catching the cotton from 
underneath as before. The length of your long stitch will be regulated 
by the stitches on your design. Continue in this fashion, one long and 
one short stitch, until the outline is completed. 

C 122 ] 



JL 00 often, after planning a new frock, does one believe that one's 
costume is complete, whereas, in reality, one's task is only half done. 
One should still study those touches that are necessary to complete its 
beauty, for it is only by harmonizing details in hat, shoes, hose, gloves, 
and bag — in a word, the accessories of a costume — that one may achieve 
the much desired chic in dress. It is not a question so much of straining 
after effect as it is a realization that one wrong detail may throw the entire 
costume out of its true relation to the occasion and to fitness. 

A tea gown of chiffon or lace on the street; a formal hat with fine lace 
worn with a street costume, instead of a sport or tailored hat; a ' 'Cinderella 
slipper" with shimmering buckles worn with a walking costume, are all 
details that destroy and disturb the harmonious effect of a costume in 
its entirety. In each case, the occasion or the fitness of the accessory has 
been disregarded. The tea gown, worn rightly in the intimacy of one's 
home, would complete the harmony of a beautiful moment in the day; 
the pretty slipper, worn with the right frock, would complete the harmony 
of a suitable dress, as would also the formal hat. The ' 'eternal fitness of 
things" to each other is as essential in dress as in life and art. 

Having illustrated our point with the above examples, we proceed to 
a practical discussion of the accessories of dress and begin with the most 
important complementary feature of the frock — the hat. 

The correct hat is as essential as the correct frock, and by the ' 'correct 
hat," we mean one matching your gown or suit or one harmonizing with 
it: correct fabric (according to season and costume), correct size, correct 
line, correct color — these are all to be considered when deciding about 
your hat. 

To illustrate the above, let us suppose for a moment that you have 
planned a chiffon frock. For this you will require a silk hat, or if the 
frock is for evening and dinner wear, a lace or tulle hat. 

C 123 3 

For a street dress of silk, one's hat should be of some such material as 
crepe satin, straw or velvet, according to season. For the serge or tailored 
frock or suit, the hat should always be simple; it may be of silk, straw, or 
velvet, but it must be simple — no fussy trimming. A ribbon bow, a smart 
buckle, or just a pin such as those in vogue at the moment, is all that good 
taste demands. 

If you do not look well in small hats, when you are planning a hat 
for your tailored frock or suit, try one of medium size. With a large hat, 
you will never achieve the smart tailored effect you so much desire. 

On the other hand, the large hat achieves a beautiful effect when worn 
with the proper frock at a restaurant, garden party, or some other proper 
informal costume. 

Now, as to line: remember always that the hat frames your face. 
Ask yourself if the hat you are trying on has the proper shape and lines 
to bring out the best in your features. Is the "frame" for your face so 
small that your face looks large? Or is the hat so big that your face 
becomes merely a something small on which the hat has been erroneously 
placed? Be careful to see that the crown does not extend beyond the 
line of the forehead in front, or beyond the hair in back. Take care that 
the crown is not too wide or too high; the height of any hat, generally 
speaking, should not be more than three-quarters the length of the face. 

A hat with a brim is always more flattering than one without. The 
turban, while smart, has a tendency to bring out all the defects. It also 
necessitates a perfect coiffure, and the straight line across the forehead 
accentuates the lines of the face. 

A woman with a short, thick neck should never wear a hat with a 
broad brim. Our reader needs only to recall in mental vision the picture 
of such a one, with the brim almost touching the shoulder in back and 
hiding the neck and hair to recognize the truth of this rule. For this type, 
a toque or a narrow-brimmed hat is best. With these small hats a veil is 
very often worn, and softens in great measure the line of the hat, making 
it more becoming. 

It may not be amiss at this point to discuss briefly the matter of veils, 
leaving our next thought — that of color — for later amplification. The 
time at which veils may be worn is important. What we term a "face 
veil" should be worn only when one is wearing a tailored frock and only 

C 124 H 

in the day time. It should be carefully selected in regard to color and tex- 
ture so that the veil may prove a beautifier rather than a disfigurement. 
A delicate-skinned, exquisite-featured woman will look well in a thin 
mesh veil, while a woman of high coloring and large features will often 
look very smart in a figured veil. In choosing the figured veil, however, 
great care should be taken not to have the pattern too large or too heavy, 
as the design in this case may come in just the wrong place, say just at 
the top of the nose, completely covering the mouth, and thereby causing 
a very ugly effect. 

A very pretty method of trimming a simple hat is to drape it with a 
lace or chiffon veil — the plain mesh of the lace veil may fall over the face 
and the fancy part may hang off the hat. 

The question as to the color of one's hat is a paramount consideration 
in choosing one's accessories for a costume. A safe rule is always to 
match color of hat and costume. Black may be worn by many women, 
but discretion should be used. It is important that the color blend nicely 
with your hair, your eyes, and your complexion. 

The matter of what shades may be worn next to one's face should 
receive considerable study. If your eyes are blue, for instance, you may 
select a facing of blue for your hat, which will make your eyes deeper and 
darker. The brown-eyed woman similarly may find a certain shade of 
brown very becoming to her eyes; and who will ever forget the beauty of 
black eyes set in a proper background? 

Someone has suggested that when lines are too noticeable in the face, 
it would be well to choose soft, dark facings against whose background 
the lines would be softened and subdued. Be very careful in the matter 
of facings; literally, they are a frame for your face, and you should study 
the frame most carefully. 


Shoes and hosiery are "tremendous trifles" in the final effect of a 
costume. They are next in importance to hats in securing harmony in 
one's costume. 

Our reader, we will assume, has been at great pains to select a becoming 
frock, paying great attention to material, color, et csetera. She has given 
even more time and attention to her hat, realizing its importance. Her 

C 125 3 

shoes and stockings, if not selected with the utmost care, may spoil the 
whole effect of her costume. 

For example, picture a young lady wearing a beautiful lace or chiffon 
frock, with a medium size hat (preferably with a brim) either of taffeta, 
velvet or straw — depending entirely on the season — and then, to complete 
the picture, can you imagine our young lady wearing dark brown walking 
shoes and brown stockings? We exaggerate to bring to you a realization 
of the thought, care, and attention which should be given to these finishing 
details of your costume. You will at once perceive that the young lady 
of our picture has spoiled her costume by wearing the wrong shoes and 
stockings; a satin slipper with matching or harmonizing hose, would 
have given to the portrait a delicate nuance that would have completed 
and perfected its harmony. 

It is equally improper to wear satin slippers, however, with a walking 
dress or suit. A conservative taste in shoes is always the "best taste" 
and "conservative taste" means that the harmony is so complete that 
attention is not particularly attracted to the young lady's shoes and 

Frequently women make the great mistake of wearing shoes that 
match the gown when black shoes would really look much better, though 
often the stocking may match the dress or even be in harmony, as in the 
case of wearing beige stockings and black shoes with a brown or blue dress. 
In this instance, it would be advisable to wear a black hat, if it is becoming; 
a brown or blue hat would also look well, according to costume. If you 
do wear a black hat, it should be all black, and in the case of the brown 
dress, it might have a brown trimming, but no other color should be used. 

The wearing of too many colors in one's costume is also a frequent 
error. Picture a navy-blue serge dress trimmed in red with black stockings 
and black shoes, and a navy-blue hat trimmed with French blue; you will 
at once recognize the lack of congruity in your color picture. With such a 
costume a simple blue hat would have been much better — or even a black 
hat. The red trimming was quite enough color for the entire costume. 

Returning to our discussion of shoes, no standing rule may be laid 
down beyond that street shoes should be worn with street costumes, and 
only street costumes! Evening slippers should be worn only with evening 
dress. Many are the styles of shoes that may be worn with the afternoon 

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or informal dress. With silk frocks, wear black patent leather slippers, or 
suede if you wish. The low-heeled suede should be worn only with the 
tailored suit or dress, or perhaps with a proper sports costume. Black 
patent leather slippers may also be worn with dark chiffon afternoon and 
dinner dresses. With light chiffon dresses and dance frocks in bright 
colors, it is much better taste to wear flesh-color stockings and slippers than 
to wear slippers and stockings to match, except, of course, for a white 
dress, when only slippers of white should be worn. 

The woman of good taste never goes to extremes in selecting her shoes. 
Here, above all other details of costume, it is well to be conservative. A 
good motto to follow is, ' 'Keep your feet inconspicuous." 

There remains in our study of costume accessories the details of gloves, 
bag, jewels, handkerchiefs, et caetera. Undeniably, the complete touch to 
a costume is often given by some accessory that supplies and carries to 
perfection — a charming perfection — the tout ensemble of the costume. 
In selecting accessories, it is very important that the appropriate one be 
selected, for if the right one may achieve perfection, the wrong one may 
conversely destroy or pervert the most charming effect. 

Study your gown — your hat — your shoes — your hose — and then 
consider gloves — bag — handkerchief — jewels. Often a string of beads of 
just the right color will bring out the right tone in your gown and add to 
its chic. Do not, however, wear too many jewels; even fine jewelry may 
lose its charm when used to excess. 

The subject of gloves is not an extensive one, but it merits attention 
just the same. White gloves, long or short, according to your sleeve 
length, are always in good taste. It is economy and good taste to wear the 
brown or gray glove, whichever harmonizes with your costume. A great 
many women follow the French plan and wear a black glove with dark 

A nice black bag (preferably silk) is always smart, and will suit any 
costume. In addition to its serviceability and smartness, it also has the 
virtue of inconspicuosity — one of the marks of good taste. 

Colored handkerchiefs are a fad — a fad, we regret to say, not in good 
taste. A white handkerchief with a colored border may be used, but an all 
white handkerchief is best. They are dainty things and come in varying 
sizes. The glove handkerchief is generally used for evening. It may be a 

C 127 1 

lace- trimmed trifle, or broidered and edged with net. The latter by the 
way, are easily made at home, by hand. Just hem (roll hem is preferable) a 
sheer four-inch square of linen; buy the net footing and overcast this on 
your square around the edges. The corners may be shirred in. If this is 
done carefully, you will have a charming handkerchief. 

In considering all these details of dress, select with two ideas in mind, 
good taste and smartness. Close study is necessary, but the subject is a 
fascinating one and you can best work it out yourself. Do not let anyone 
persuade you, unless it be a very artistic person, indeed, to take something 
with which you do not feel completely satisfied. 

You will soon find that results justify all the time spent in achieving 
them, and you will fall into the habit of taking care of details, so that each 
time you plan a new costume, it will be easier for you to select what will 
make your costume individual, beautiful and chic. 


The subject of becoming colors is one of endless interest to women. 
We have not room in this book to discuss lengthily this interesting topic; 
we have, however, selected certain well-known types and analyzed the 
color situation in regard to them, but the truth remains that every woman 
is her own artist and should studv the colors of each season in relation to 
her own color of hair, eyes, and skin, and make her own decision after 
much comparing. 

No. 1 — The blonde with blue eyes, pale face, and light hair. 

This type may wear practically any color, though the soft shades 
are more becoming. Wear dark shades during the day, pastel 
shades at night. 

This type of woman prefers delicate frocks with dainty trim- 
mings, such as fine laces, pastel flowers, et caetera; for evening 
wear, she will select whites, grays, mauves; all pastel shades (ex- 
cept perhaps yellow) are good. 

No. 2 — The blonde with brown eyes, rosy cheeks; blonde with brown eyes 
and pale complexion. 

The blonde with the brown eyes and rosy cheeks could wear 
the same shades as her sister of the pale coloring, but will probably 

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avoid all shades of pink, red, cerise, or even pinkish mauve — in a 
word, all colors which would accentuate the pink of her cheeks. 
The blonde with the brown eyes and the pale complexion 
should select shades a little stronger than the other blondes, as 
shades too soft or delicate would emphasize her colorlessness. 
For day wear, the shades are practically the same, though she 
should avoid the tans and light browns, and the medium greens. 
For evening, she should avoid yellows and pale greens. 

No. 3 — The brown-eyed, drab-haired type of woman with sallow com- 
plexion, and the brown-eyed medium-haired woman with a good 

The first-mentioned type should avoid light pastel shades. She 
should select decided colors, such as bright blues, reds, jade, deep 
turquoise, in a word colors neither light nor dark, and strong 

The second type — the brown-eyed woman with a good complex- 
ion may wear practically any color, according to age, taste, and 
occasion. Being not an extreme type herself, she will do well to 
avoid extremes. 

No. 4 — The brunette with fair skin and blue eyes; the brunette with olive 
skin and brown eyes. 

The brunette with fair skin may wear all colors; the brunette 
with the olive skin and with brown eyes, of the Oriental type, 
may wear strong colors, but she will avoid pastel shades, greens 
and yellows, unless it is a strong emerald, or apple green and 
canary yellow. For day wear, she should avoid beige and tans. 

No. 5 — The red-haired woman with brown or blue eyes. 

Red-haired women will be always at their best in black or dark 
blue for street wear, unless they select in silk or velvet a very 
golden shade of brown. For afternoon and evening wear, all 
greens, including jade, are probably the best, also black, gold 
tissue with touch of strong color, and all shades of gold, copper 
and orange to blend with her hair. 

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